Indiana Dave and the Treasures of Bridgestone

Indiana Dave and the Treasures of Bridgestone

This is a story of heroic adventure and preserving a great treasure.

I knew it was going to be a day of discovery when I arrived on the scene on a Tuesday morning, just as they unearthed the behemoth. (I've posted a few photos and have also shot a quick video of moving day, and yes, I'm a fan of 80s rock.)

Davey arborists had carefully used tools of all shapes and sizes to capture 40 percent of the giant root ball that belonged to a Black Tupelo tree, commonly known as Black Gum. It took three days to encase the sinewy snakes that made up the roots. The careful and extensive digging almost made it seem as if they were going to stumble upon a lost tomb or prehistoric fossil.

A tree of this size always has special meaning, and for those at Bridgestone Americas, a special story. It was planted during the 50-year anniversary celebration of the company 60 years ago in a plaza built around a larger than life statue of Harvey Firestone, founder of the Firestone Rubber & Tire Co. that Bridgestone Americas purchased in 1988. To them, the tree, along with its partner flanking the other side of the monument, are historic treasures well worth preserving.

The crew lifted the 26-inch trunk, 85-ton (170,000-pound) tree using a gantry system, which can move trees with trunks far exceeding 24 inches in diameter and weighing more than 800,000 pounds. But the site conditions on this property - sloping, soft ground - meant traditional large, heavy cranes wouldn't work as smoothly. A lot of times, side or overhead obstacles like telephone wires prevent other equipment from getting into a space. That's where the gantry system is unique - it is a more portable, four-point lifting system that a crew can assemble around a heavy load and then elevate with greater ease and safety. It took about two days to lift the tree, load it on the trailer and move it into position. Then it took another half a day to backfill and dress the tree. The slow, careful precision, reminded me that large trees like this really are of great value, both environmentally and in terms of the memories they offer. It was like the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when they come upon the golden ark and then reverentially move it little by little to its final destination. 

large tree moving

For the first 12 to 24 months, a maintenance and monitoring program will see the tree through its most critical care mode after the move. And then an additional two to three years of close monitoring will be required. The total preservation and recovery process for the tree to reestablish itself in its new home is five years.

And it's worth it because of the many environmental benefits a tree this large provides. You can't, for instance, replace a 26-inch diameter tree with 26 1-inch caliper trees. It isn't a one-to-one oxygen exchange.

Of course tree preservation doesn't always have to be dramatic, something I remind myself of each time I water the 4' tall Washington Hawthorn I just planted. Until our next adventure in tree preservation … where I'll make sure to bring a leather jacket, hat and bull whip along for the journey.

"Think you're a big fan of trees? We'd love to hear about it. Send your thoughts to Dave or Daphne at blog@davey.com ."

Add a comment:
Featured or Related Blog Posts
  • Root in Moisture

    Planting trees is just half the battle.

    The diseases, pests and power equipment that emerge outdoors in spring, accompanying frequent sunlight, longer days and warmer temperatures, can wreak havoc on your trees if you don't put forth the effort to protect them.

    To keep your trees healthy throughout the growing season and beyond, you must practice routine maintenance and proper tree care. One way to help trees retain moisture, reduce weeds and keep power equipment at a safe distance is through mulch. In the coming weeks, you'll see piles of fresh mulch lined along neighborhood driveways. Soon, the coarse, fragrant matter will settle among flower and tree beds, enhancing the quality of landscapes' appearances.

    Read More
  • Just a Trim, Please

    Put a pair of scissors in your hands, and whether you're cutting coupons or bangs, there's always the potential to oversnip. It's almost too easy to make a mistake as you clip, clip, clip away - removing a little more on this side and a bit more on that side.

    Just like with a bad haircut, there is nothing more noticeable than a poorly pruned plant - pieces sticking out in all directions, a butchered shrub, a tree that looks like the top has been sliced off. The good news is that just as the perfect haircut can frame the face and improve a person's appearance, the same can be said for a professional tree pruning job.

    Pruning is not only a science, but an art form. The science aspect of pruning involves understanding tree biology, recognizing plant flaws and skillfully eliminating or minimizing defects. The artistic aspect of pruning consists of removing dead wood while aesthetically shaping the tree.

    Read More
  • Heat Wave

    Heat wave.

    The term usually makes many people think of the tropics or the desert.

    But extreme heat has hit many areas hard so far this summer. Record highs have been broken in some cities, while others have seen their hottest temperatures since the 1980s.

    Read More
  • Forecast: Hot & Humid

    The air-conditioning is set on high. The fan is blowing in my face. And it feels so good, particularly since my dog and I were just panting within seconds of stepping out to a heavy wall of heat and humidity. His face tilts up to mine, happy for the nice, cool breeze. We face the facts together as I sip from a tall, cool glass of water and he laps up the same out of his bowl: Despite our yearning to enjoy the outdoors, it's hot. And it's hot in nearly every region of the country.

    There's simply no denying it: This summer's a scorcher. While it's difficult to find the motivation to open the door to the heat lingering in the air outside - let alone step out onto a dry, parched lawn - I brave the elements because I notice my trees need some TLC, too.

    It's difficult to imagine another day of 90-plus degree temperatures. So I can hardly imagine how my trees must feel as their roots cling to nothing but the dry soil, day after day.

    Read More
  • Tune In

    So I haven't played a comic book superhero with incredible powers like telekinesis or the ability to fly. And I haven't donned fangs and sported the trendy tall, dark and handsome vampire look. But, now and again, my fellow Davey arborists and I have something in common with such unique characters: doing something really cool and doing it with a "wow" factor you can see on television.

    That's right, Davey has enjoyed a few minutes of broadcast fame - admittedly not as much as those vampires or superheroes we all know and love - but it still counts, right?

    Our most popular eye candy? moving massive trees. You may or may not know this, but Davey has been moving trees since the 1920s! In fact, we've recently combined our operation with Environmental Design Inc., which equals more than a century of tree moving.

    Read More

Request a consultation

What do you need services for?
Sorry, we can’t seem to find the zip code you specified. Our residential tree care offices may not service your area. If you believe this is an error, please try again. Need help? Email us at info@davey.com.
  • Email newsletter
  • Woodchips
*Please fill out all required fields.