Old tree moving to new University of Michigan spot

AP News
|
Posted: Nov 03, 2014 8:02 PM
Old tree moving to new University of Michigan spot

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A tree that predates the University of Michigan and the city of Ann Arbor — and the American Revolution, for that matter — was settling into its new home on Monday.

Workers moved the tree 500 feet down a pedestrian walkway Oct. 25-26, but the transfer was postponed for a week after an inflatable air bladder helping to hold up the tree burst.

Crews returned to work in Ann Arbor on Monday, spending hours positioning the 250-year-old tree into its new digs near the front entrance to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

"It's a matter of fine-tuning," said Paul Cox, vice president of Environmental Design Inc., a Tomball, Texas-based company that has been moving big trees for decades.

The tree is being relocated to make way for a $135 million donor-funded expansion of the Ross School. The cost of moving the tree, which could reach $400,000, is being covered by the donor.

The oak dates to at least 1764, which is 73 years before the university moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor and 60 years before the founding of the city that features the bur oak on its official seal.

History was a factor in the decision to move the tree, officials said. And it helped that money was there to make it happen.

Now, it's a matter of caring for the tree and helping it adjust to its new home. Cox said the tree will be placed on a 3- to 5-year maintenance program.

As for its chances of enduring the move, Cox said not to worry.

"We have about a 97 percent survival rate on big trees, so I would have every expectation that this would fall into that category," he said.