July 6, 2012

Something Wonderful: Moving the Ghirardi Compton Oak

"The Ghirardi Compton Oak has been a piece of League City's history for over 100 years. The tree stands 56 feet tall, has a canopy that is over 100 feet wide, and is 135 inches around. It also weighs an incredible 518,000 pounds. A county road widening project put the future of the Ghirardi Oak in jeopardy. Council voted to use park dedication funds to hire Hess Landscaping Construction to move the majestic oak. A project that took them just under a month to complete. Watch the incredible process from start to finish in this video."


What do you get when you combine Italian immigrants, a bag of Louisiana acorns, some determined folk in a historically-minded Texas town and a California native who (along with his crew) moves trees with all the pride and competence you'd expect from an ex-Marine?


A feel-good story of the first order. Read on @ Follow the Muddy Dirt Road ォ The Task at Hand

Posted by gerardvanderleun at July 6, 2012 6:03 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

"I saw in Louisiana a live oak growing." ~Whitman

Posted by: AbigailAdams at July 6, 2012 7:31 AM

Wow! I had no idea moving an Oak that size was even possible. An inspiring story, thank you.

Posted by: Frisco Scooter Trash at July 6, 2012 8:13 AM

That's why Texas is great.

Posted by: Gary at July 6, 2012 8:44 AM

It's hard to believe a tree that size can survive without 99% of its root system but we'll see. In any case I guess it was worth a try.

Posted by: I-RIGHT-I at July 6, 2012 12:30 PM

Just a note on survival - "Old Glory", an even larger and older oak that was transplanted in the Pico Canyon area outside Los Angeles just passed the five-year mark considered by most arborists the benchmark for survival. It's doing well, as are some other transplants I've been told about. Apparently we've learned a thing or two about how to do this successfully.

Posted by: shoreacres at July 6, 2012 2:48 PM

That tree is just about 30ish miles up I-45 from me, and even closer to Shoreacres.

Moving it was magnificent. Nearly as grand, was the political free-for-all which was the fights, agruments and drama which led to the vote to conduct the move.

So much so, that the move itself was damn near anticlimactic, in and of itself.

The Chief Rigger on the move was one Scott Tuma. Before he went to work doing such heroics, he was a sailboat rigger, and did all the work on the late, lamented Sloop New Dawn

Small world, eh?

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Posted by: Jim at July 6, 2012 6:58 PM

Great article, however, there is no thing as an ex-MARINE just us former MARINES!


Posted by: CHICAGO BOB at July 25, 2012 5:44 AM


You are indeed correct about the long months of arguments, but we do feel that the fight was worthwhile.


More than 96% of the root structure is within the first 36" of soil and there were no major roots cut beneath the tree, it was a few fibrous roots; I know, I was able to crawl around beneath the tree as the process was going on.

There were a good number of roots that were cut when the box was made, but there was already new root growth (6-10 inches worth) when they de-boxed the tree.

It is being checked by-weekly by the city arborist and the owner of the company that performed the move visits once a month to check the tree. It is being very well taken care of and has a more than 90% chance of survival.

Posted by: Michael Ghirardi at October 14, 2012 9:49 PM