This is How We Carefully Removed a Large Tree from the Park
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Horticulture Stories


Stories from the park's horticulture team

This is How We Carefully Removed a Large Tree from the Park

By Stacie Martin

Species: red oak tree, Quercus sp. 

Height: 110 feet

Age: 80-100 years

Trees offer many benefits to all things wild and natural. Just like humans, trees are susceptible to diseases and their health declines.

This red oak tree’s health was deteriorating prior to construction of Gathering Place. Despite our horticulture team’s best efforts to revive it, the tree entered its final stage of life and had to be removed to prevent potential hazards.

Tree preservation was important in the building process of Gathering Place. The park was even designed around specific trees to avoid compacting soil and severing roots. The patio is one of these areas and features “floating concrete.” This concrete was installed on above-ground deck piers, so no excavation would take place around the roots, therefore, preserving the structure of the soil.

This photo shows the original grade of the soil, rebar to reenforce the concrete, and pecan hulls to buffer against the high pH of the concrete.

The floating concrete provided outstanding protection for the tree roots, which allows for the other trees to remain healthy. This concrete created an extra challenge for tree removal because it has a lower weight limit. To avoid damaging the concrete, the tree was carefully sectioned down.


Nick’s Tree Service used a crane, a crew, and a lift to safely remove the oak. First, the tree crew tied sections to the anchor on the crane prior to sawing.


While each branch seemed small compared to the tree, each were incredibly large and heavy. The crane transported the branches over to the chipper. The branches were sent through the chipper, which shredded them into coarse mulch.   

As the trunk was removed, the weight of the sections was measured by the scale on the crane. Piece were cut small so as not to exceed the crane’s capacity. Guess how much the heaviest piece weighed? (The answer is at the bottom of this post!)

We were able to examine the pieces when they were on the ground. This section shows two sets of tree rings. You can see from the structure that there was a branch growing off the trunk.

At some point, the branch and the trunk both grew large enough that they started to join together.

In this picture, bark is visible on the inside of the tree. Pockets like this can attract rot and disease, which is shown here in the dark curvy outline.


Finally, the last pieces were removed and only the stump remained.

To remove the stump, the teamed used a stump grinder. This piece of equipment uses a pivoting saw that chops the stump into small pieces. It even works on belowground roots!

When examining the tree, we found soft, rotted wood that could be removed with our fingers.

Answer: The largest piece weighed 6,800 pounds!