Alys Beach, Florida, an EBSCO Industries New Urbanist development in northwest Florida, recently installed a substantial live oak as the anchor and focal point for the community’s northernmost section of Turtle Bale Spring, connecting the Gulf to the Nature Preserve, which will also include pocket parks and other green spaces. The landscape plan for the Turtle Bale is the design of Horton Land Works, and under the review of Kendall Horne, landscape coordinator for Alys Beach.
The live oak, acquired from Huntsman Tree Supplier in Lake City, Florida, was transported as an approximately 18-year-old, 16-ton, 35-foot-tall, 35-foot-circumference specimen, thought to be the largest or one of the largest trees to be moved along Scenic 30A.
The two-year relocation process was managed by Huntsman arborist Joe Ott, who said that the tree was grown from an acorn in a gallon pot.
According to Ott, preparations for transport included a multi-stage root pruning process to reduce stress and keep from “shocking” the root system.
In each phase, a selection of roots was pruned and allowed to “cauterize” before moving to the next pruning phase. Once the pruning process was complete, the tree was removed, the root bulb then soaked, and roots curled inward for protection. The wrapping and prep process continued for another two days with a day and a half to tie and wrap the tree, and another half-day to load it for transport.
The sheer size and volume of the tree are impressive and “magical,” as Kendall Horne reflected at the completion of the installation, and it will continue to grow. Live oaks can live for several hundred years and grow to be 80 feet tall, 120 feet in diameter. “We look forward to seeing this grand live oak grow into another icon of Alys Beach, another recognizable symbol for the community, certainly a landmark. We can’t wait to see the role it will play for our homeowners and visitors – the family photos taken under the canopy of its branches for years to come,” said Stacy Hamilton, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Alys Beach.