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June 15, 2012 / philosophermouseofthehedge

UPDATE: Ghirardi Compton Oak Landed.

The old Ghirardi oak tree in League City tiptoed through the fields towards its’ new home Wednesday.

Guess it figured now or never.

Not good sitting out in the heat. So hop-along, it did.

Some of the metal beams it was sitting on had to be cut off to reduce weight and drag.

(TinkerBell and Pixie Dust can just do so much!)

The metal support plate bent.

The heavy equipment groaned and treads struggled for traction.

A trial run at 6:30 a.m. proved the tree was willing and off it slid…for 4-5 hours.

A pause around noon at the edge of a massive hole featured huddles and conferences.

Dirt ramps were constructed on either side of the pit.

Then tree was shoved and tugged into position to enter the last challenge.

Not far to go now…just a little cooperation..a little water for a waterslide down.

Just try, tree.

Slide, tree! Slide!

Finally, it seemed to chuckle in understanding and tentatively inched forward.

Recognizing movement, the Caterpillar operators encouraged their diesel workhorses.

Then, the tree settled in like an old man sinking into his favorite leather recliner.

Rather comfy here – and a drink waiting?

Despite the heat, everyone was exhilarated.

The crew and their leader, John, posed for pictures and handshakes

TV crews got their interviews.

The prairie grasses, roughed up by the move, were smoothed and encouraged to sleep.

By Friday, the irrigation system will be functional. The tree snuggly resting in its new home.

A spot at the edge of a developing park.

And still within sight of the old farmstead – and the remaining Ghirardi relatives.

Seems right.

They say the Ghirardi Compton Oak has another 200 years left in it.

Imagine that.

This aged oak like a grandfather spreading wide his arms welcoming kids as they run towards him.

At some point in the future a greyed Philosopher Mouse insisting on getting out of the car and toddling over uneven paths to hug an old tree.

Well, the little kids can just dance in the splashing water for a bit – that will keep them busy.

While long-suffering relatives once again hear the tale of the traveling oak tree.

(Easy to ignore those amused silent glances darting across.)

Just sit over here, me and the tree – and we’ll remember life’s journeys.

Get over here for pictures.

Now everyone smile!

Trees, please!

 Leaf it for the kids,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

A big thanks and gracias to John and the crew for all their hard work. 

 ABC/KTRK video.“League City oak tree finally moved to new home”

And local blogger, Linda Leinen, has been documenting the move and is planning a great post shortly with stories and photos – so watch her space.  (If you haven’t visited her blog, you should.)

Related posts:

That’s all folks! (Now return you to regular scheduled blogging)

Unless you want to see more pictures….

Smashed tan grass marks the tree’s path

Straining to get tree to slide down ramp – warning alarms going off

Stop here! It’s in!

Cheers! Cold water for everyone! Even the tree.

We did it! You can relax now. The plates bent but held.

Gumbo. But wet it down and it’s not a bad water slide!


  1. Madame Weebles / Jun 15 2012 12:21 am

    I’m so glad he made it safe and sound!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 1:37 am

      So far so good! ( Now if those clouds would just give up some rain!) Thanks for checking in


  2. katecrimmins / Jun 15 2012 1:10 am

    Amazing! I hope it lives. You must keep us updated from time to time.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 1:40 am

      Went by again this afternoon – looks like they are using lots of sand (best for drainage here) and new dirt. It looks happy. Thanks for checking back by


  3. rumpydog / Jun 15 2012 1:16 am

    I am relieved. You had me worried that tree wasn’t going anywhere.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 1:41 am

      It was really amazing to watch – those machines where actually spinning their treads trying to get it to move – then it just did. So glad things appear to be going well.


  4. sandylikeabeach / Jun 15 2012 1:30 am

    And yet another mighty oak gets back to its acorn roots by taking root in a new patch of earth. Thanks for the oak tree relocation update. I, too, hope the tree lives for another 200 years, at least.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 1:43 am

      John the tree guy said 300 more wouldn’t be unrealistic if it all goes well. He plans to bring his kids to see it. ALl sorts of older people are lugging grandkids by and telling stories -it’s been nice to spark an interest in histories and stories. Glad you stopped by to chat


  5. jmlindy422 / Jun 15 2012 1:34 am

    Thanks for the update!


  6. PiedType / Jun 15 2012 1:45 am

    Come on, Tree. You can do this!


  7. jannatwrites / Jun 15 2012 3:17 am

    I’m glad the tree made it to the new home. It is quite an impressive tree – it makes the machinery look like Tonka toys! I hope the roots take to the new soil and it survives for several more generations.


  8. Russel Ray Photos / Jun 15 2012 4:03 am

    Sure they moved it, but I don’t think they got near enough of the root system for a hardwood of that size. I predict that much, if not all, of the tree will die within five years. Hope I’m wrong.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 2:16 pm

      The size of that root box is a concern – but they could hardly lift this big a root ball out of the ground.
      Most people are also concerned that this is the worst time of year to move the tree – except maybe August.
      Judging from the tree kill last year by the drought, if the tree makes it a year, it’ll probably be OK – with care.
      Nothing to do but wait now.
      Thanks for pitching your tent here a bit


  9. Sunshine / Jun 15 2012 5:58 am

    Wow, that was some move…and to think this tree has another 200 years left?? Oh, my… this was a fun excursion!


  10. roughseasinthemed / Jun 15 2012 6:02 am

    Good work by everyone. Whether or not it was needed when there were other options is another matter….. Fingers and paws crossed it survives.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 2:24 pm

      Trees generally preferred to remain in one place. Last Dec. fears of chainsaws had contingency plans being made to station people under it over Christmas and New Year’s Day. (and the city government kept trying to sound surprised people cared)
      Hoping for rain – but no hurricanes this summer!
      Thanks for digging into this story


  11. heretherebespiders / Jun 15 2012 6:45 am

    Glad it’s over. I’m curious as to how they got the lumber out from under the soil! It looks dangerously top-heavy, they are lucky and talented to have kept Tree upright. But I’m worried over the small size of the root ball compared to the size of the trunk… Fingers crossed it takes.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 2:30 pm

      The tree was sitting on a huge metal plate. They had planned to use all the heavy equipment on one side and tug it out from under it – and pull it up the ramp and out the hole. Pretty dangerous if one of the cables breaks – so no one allowed nearby. It looked like it was done when I checked yesterday afternoon – they seemed to be taking off the wood around the sides and putting in good bank sand and soil. Plan to check back today.
      All we can do is hope – better than giving up and leaving it to chainsaws.
      Thanks for wandering through these woods


  12. writingfeemail / Jun 15 2012 10:33 am

    You can just see the pride in the faces of the crew members. What a great project to be part of! Thanks for sharing this with us. It is nice to hear a bit of good news.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 2:35 pm

      So far so good.
      The crew was extremely relieved to get it in that hole. The tree turned out to be much heavier than expected – and it was reluctant to move out of the hole or across the field. Their equipment was certainly pushed to the limits ( I have never seen those big treads just spinning unable to move – just like in a cartoon.
      Now all we need is some slow rains.
      Thanks for branching out to visit


  13. jmmcdowell / Jun 15 2012 11:02 am

    Hopefully the roots can adapt and make this spot home for the next 200 years. Thanks for the update!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 2:37 pm

      Maybe we can start a Ghirardi oak tree celebration/festival. (But we’d better let it rest up a bit first.) Thanks for climbing over to check on it


  14. CATachresis / Jun 15 2012 3:24 pm

    I feel I know that tree!!! I hope he has many many happy centuries in his new home 🙂


  15. Ally Bean / Jun 15 2012 7:05 pm

    I have trouble moving an overgrown clump of daisies from one spot to another within my yard. Moving a tree of this size astounds me. How amazing– & how wonderful!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2012 8:26 pm

      It’s too hot to work in the yard anymore here. Everything’s got to just grow here it is.
      Thanks for stopping by to chat


  16. By The Hilt / Jun 15 2012 7:52 pm

    Wow, nice to hear of something like this. At least one tree has been saved from “progress.”


  17. EllaDee / Jun 15 2012 11:29 pm

    I love the idea of a Ghirardi oak tree celebration/festival. Regardless of the long term outcome, which I hope is good, it’s great that a tree caught so many people’s interest & passion. Long may it & it’s legacy live on 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 16 2012 2:05 pm

      Trees are something that deserve attention and recognition. Maybe this one it the group’s poster child? A celebration does seem like a good idea…must work on that. Thanks for climbing over to chat


  18. knittinpeace / Jun 16 2012 3:43 pm

    That is one of the best things I have seen in weeks. Thanks!!


  19. Unconfirmed Bachelorette / Jun 16 2012 4:17 pm

    Brings tears to my eyes. Wonderful post.


  20. Jackie Paulson / Jun 16 2012 11:18 pm

    I love trees, and this is such great photo work…every single detail. Loved it.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 17 2012 12:57 pm

      This tree has been getting a lot of attention (now). We’ve had some rain showers – so hopefully it’s setting in and will do well.
      THanks for hiking over to chat


  21. csroth3 / Jun 17 2012 3:42 am

    Wow, that’s amazing, and I thought I was working hard today when I was moving flowers around in my garden.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 17 2012 12:58 pm

      The whole process was quite amazing to watch. But I’m with you – moving plants is tiring! Thanks for wandering this way


  22. Kourtney Heintz / Jun 17 2012 5:25 pm

    What a gorgeous tree! I hope it settles into its new home and its roots spread deep into the ground.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 18 2012 1:08 pm

      It’s just too great a treasure to brush aside…history, continuity, lesson for next generation, and all that good science tuff trees are valuable for. Thanks for hiking over


  23. shoreacres / Jun 18 2012 3:19 am

    Wasn’t this just the best? I went back over after all the hoopla was done, and had a chance to talk with Erik Hess. It was really an amazing conversation – not long, but interesting. Much about his feelings about the tree, and the work and so on. Also some about the stress of the project – he said they all were going to sleep better that night!

    Good gosh – it’s taken me all weekend just to sort photos. You know how it is – you take 200 and 150 are lousy or dups or whatever. But I’ve got some very nice ones, particularly of the crew working.

    I think a festival would be great – and I think we’re going to get lucky. There’s rain forecast every day from now until Friday. Even cloudy, cool and damp will help, but if we get real rain? HOORAH! Wonderful writeup. Such an exciting event – I predict the tree is going to thrive.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 18 2012 1:06 pm

      We went back, too. Can’t wait to see your post and pictures. You always do a great job of story telling. Rain headed this way from Boliver.


  24. Margarita / Jul 14 2012 9:27 pm

    A number of years ago, we watched an old theater moved from the 7th ave end of 42nd street to the 8th ave end. It wasn’t nearly as majestic as moving this tree! Thanks! 🙂


  25. treehugger / Apr 17 2013 3:32 pm

    It’s been 10 months! What’s the status of the tree?



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