COMMENT OF THE DAY: OAK FOREST OAK SEEKS HELP WITH MOVE “A neighbor of the Woodcrest demo is seeking help relocating a 100-year old red oak that is scheduled to be part of that demo. If anyone has the resources and/or machinery to do so email me or post here and I will put you in touch with her. mmatt_chew at h0tmail d0t c0m.” [mek ju, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Memorial Plaza]
I’m going to assume that the 100-year old oak is huge. At most, I think you really are only going to be able to put protections in place instead of moving it.
If the tree is near any property line (especially the right of way), moving is not an option. Pulling up the tree could disturb utilities such as gas lines, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, and water lines. If you attempt it, it will be extremely costly (more than the building of the house). On top of that you’ll have to replace anything you disturb and you might piss of the neighbors.
There is a reason that government road projects don’t save extremely old trees and just go ahead and replace them with several new ones. Tree protection measures can be put in place (lot of experience in the Heights with this one). An tree expert is called in to advise engineers and contractors on the options.
When they moved the “Old Glory” Oak in LA County 5 years ago they reckoned it weighed around 460 tons and was 70ft tall. That was a California Live Oak so probably was much broader than a Red Oak but nonetheless it gives you an idea. It cost about $1M to move the tree about a quarter of a mile and replant. Interestingly it has managed to survive, unlike the developer who paid for the move in order to clear the land for a housing development.
Once a tree is established, its root system can become very sensitive to transplanting. Even smaller trees experience high mortality rates when transplanted. The larger they are, the less likely they are to survive the disturbance to the root system.
I agree that it is sad to see large trees destroyed, but planting several new ones (as kjb434 suggested) can mitigate the loss. It’s part of the circle of life, I suppose.