Relocating an Acer griseum

Will Hinchliffe

Staff at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have had to relocate a number of established trees and shrubs in the collection in advance of the major redevelopment of the glasshouses and facilities. The most significant tree to be transplanted was this Acer griseum planted in 1938. The tree is a fine example of the taxa and one the garden was keen to save during the development.

The lift took meticulous preparation. The root ball was hand dug, wrapped and bound with sisal rope using a drum wrap pattern. Sisal was chosen because it actually contracts a little once wet. The tree was rigged using a basket formed from two looped chains linked by 1m eye-to-eye slings. The four slings from the main lifting point were then carefully routed through the canopy and joined to the top chain loop with shackles. This method is often used by gardens in America and advice was sought from Kurt Morell at New York Botanic Garden when planning the lift. The tree weighed in at 7.5t. The root ball held together well for the lift and the unwrapping after planting. However, it will be a number of years before we can really evaluate the success of the transplanting.

The photos below show the sequence of the operation. The first three, which show the tree being prepared for the move, were taken by Robert Unwin and the three images of the move are by Lynsey Wilson.


This article was taken from Issue 193 Summer 2021 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to Arboricultural Association members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.

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