Eat It, Chainsaws: 100-Year-Old Tree Transplanted, Not Cut Down

The beloved Ghirardi Compton Oak is relocated by its environmentally friendly Texas town.
(Photo: Courtesy League City, Texas)
Oct 12, 2012· 1 MIN READ
Jenna is a Editorial Intern at TakePart and a high school senior in New York City.

Residents of League City, Texas, know how to give their trees the star treatment. When a construction project threatened the Ghirardi Compton Oak, League City decided to have the tree relocated, rather than simply destroyed. The Ghirardi Compton Oak is beloved by its human Texan neighbors. At over 100 years old, it has been a League City landmark for as long as anyone can remember.

Krisit Wyatt, the City’s communications director, told TakePart just how much the town loves their trees: “In League City people really do value the [Oak] tree. Our main street is lined with oaks...and our seal has an oak tree on it as well.”

The Ghirardi Compton Oak weighs an impressive 518,000 pounds, stands 56-feet tall, and has a 100-foot-wide canopy. The tree was saved when the League City City Counsel voted to approve its relocation. Wyatt told TakePart the actual move cost around $197,500 (not accounting for other additional factors).

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When asked if residents thought the high price was worthwhile, Wyatt said: “It was a decision that our city counsel…really had to weigh. There was a lot of cost involved in it, but they decided it was worth it to save this 100-year-old tree. Obviously there were some people who disagree, but there were a great number of people who really appreciate that the tree was saved.”

The Hess Landscape Construction Company, the contractors that handled the relocation, confirmed that they have received numerous thankful emails from the people of League City.

Moving the Oak was also a major engineering feat. In a month-long project, a special tree box was built by cutting a trench around the Oak and its roots. This specially constructed planter was mounted on steel beams, lifted by two cranes, and then dragged on a steel plate to its new location. Once it reached its new home, the oak’s box was disassembled piece by piece. The tree has already settled in to its new home, and arborists have been observing its health with biweekly check-ups.

Not only was the Ghirardi Compton Oak saved, it was relocated to the site of the WaterSmart Park, a “water conservation education park.” According to League City, the Park’s primary purpose is to educate “the public on which native plants can be used around the house landscape to beautify their property while helping to preserve the waters of this region.” Their plans to build “native planting displays,” “a rain garden,” and “green infrastructure,” show that League City residents are definitely ahead of the curve environmentally.

Wyatt confirmed this, saying: “We do have a lot of people that are very much environmentally conscious and have an appreciation for the Earth.”

With its town’s dedication to sustainability and water conservation, the impressive Ghirardi Compton Oak must feel right at home.

Have you ever planted a tree? If so, tell us where you did it—and why.