I was working on my write-up for this page when I got happily sidetracked by an email from a friend.  It was a link to a You Tube video of a town going to the care and expense of moving a beloved oak tree from a soon-to-be street location to a protected park.  This story I had to share with you while the links were still good.

The Location:  League City, Texas.

The Problem:  A year ago the city decided it needed to widen their Louisiana Avenue.  However, the one hundred year old Ghirardi Compton Oak (named after an old Italian farming family) was in the way.

The Solution:  Move it fifteen hundred feet to a water conservation park.  Requests for proposals went out and the Hess Landscaping Company came in with the winning low bid of $197,500.

The Ghirardi Oak:  This one hundred year old tree is fifty-six feet tall, one hundred feet wide, 135 inches in circumference, and weighs 518,000 pounds.

The How:  After prepping the tree, Hess Company hand dug a trench around the base to a depth of approximately five feet and built a planter box in situ to hold the root ball.  Then four steel rods were placed underneath so two cranes could lift it out and place it on a steel plate.  This loaded plate was then drug down a grassy path to the tree’s new location using two bulldozers and two excavators in front and one bulldozer in back.

Now you need to watch the June 7 video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=BFTj0hM3DHM

The Status:  Two months after the June move the beloved oak seems to be doing OK.  Leaf drop from the stressful move worried citizens but Erik Hess (owner of Hess Landscape Construction Company) said this was to be expected and it is “doing great.”  New leaf and root growth has been detected.  A team of eleven people (from company and city) will be carefully monitoring the tree for the next three years.


Hope you enjoyed this story and the video.  After a deluge of news stories about terrible people doing terrible things it is refreshing to come across one story where you find a group of individuals caring about something as simple and beautiful as a tree.


Gonzalez, Christopher Smith, “Crew works to unearth LC  Ghirardi oak”, Galveston Daily News, 25 May 2012, http://galvestondailynews.com/story/317122

Gonzalez, Christopher Smith, “Ghirardi Compton Oak in ‘great shape,’” Galveston Daily News, 4 September 2012, http://galvestondailynews.com/story/345446

League City, Texas, “Ghirardi Compton Oak,” official League City website, 2012, http://leaguecity.com/index.aspx?nid=1806