A large sequoia tree linked to a famous naturalist was standing in the way of progress. So more than a century after it was planted as a sapling in a doctor's yard in Boise, Idaho, the 10-story tree is on the move, shifting across the street to make way for a hospital expansion, reports the AP. The tree is expected to reach its new turf Sunday. Here are some things to know about it and its trip months in the making.
- The story: More than 100 years ago John Muir sent four sequoia seedlings to Emile Grandjean, an early employee of the US Forest Service in Idaho. The only one of the four that still exists is being moved by St. Luke's Health System, which is spending $300,000 to move the 98-foot tree to city property two blocks away. "We understand the importance of this tree to this community," says a rep. Cutting it down "was never even an option."
- The tree: Sequoias in their native California draw moisture from the misty atmosphere and can live for several thousand years and reach several hundred feet tall. The Idaho sequoia is in a drier, colder climate, and the tree lost its original top in the 1980s due to damage from Christmas decorations. The hospital at that point hired tree experts and the sequoia has since thrived.
- The buzz: Christian Schaffeld lives near the tree, which he loves. "I grew up here in Boise. ... I am amazed: That's the biggest tree I've ever seen ever picked up and transplanted. It's amazing that they're doing this. It's a service to the City of Trees that kind of epitomizes Boise."
- The challenge: Tree mover David Cox says the sequoia will be the tallest tree his company, Environmental Design, has ever moved as well as having the greatest circumference at more than 20 feet around its base. Cox said soil analysis was done at the transplant site to ensure it will allow the tree to keep growing. He said most of the soil surrounding the tree's roots also is being moved to improve the chances of success. If it works, the tree could remain a Boise landmark for several more centuries. Cox says there's a 95% chance the tree will survive.
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