Wood Conservation Triumph for 100-Year Oak

A rollercoaster tale of wood conservation finally reached a happy conclusion this week when the residents of Galveston County in Texas successfully rescued a 100-year-old oak tree that was lying in the path of a road-widening project.

The tree – a Ghirardi Oak, to be precise – weighs up to 540,000 pounds, including its roots complex, needed to be shifted some 1,500 feet from the site where it has stood for more than a century.

Problems abounded during the procedure, as contractors received a crash course in the, er, weightier aspects of wood conservation – with work grinding to a halt when steel beams placed under the oak buckled under the load and needed replacing, along with the addition of spreader bars to distribute the weight. Cranes also needed to be placed nearer the tree to take the weight.

Fortunately, the oak tree was finally lifted out of the ground last Wednesday without incident and will now hold pride of place in the city’s new “Water Smart Park”, an educational park dedicated to spreading the message of biodiversity and water conservation.