Hey Y'all, Watch This! Adventures In Arboreal Locomotion, Toyota Style

About 15 years ago, I received a little potted Araucaria heterophylla tree as a Christmas gift. Many repottings and several moves later, it now stands about 15 feet tall and has outgrown my tiny house.

Known as the Norfolk Island Pine, this South Pacific native can grow to redwood-esque stature, approaching 200 feet. Alameda has a few of these trees, and they seem to specialize in lifting sidewalks and foundations with their roots; you can't plant one too close to existing structures. I needed to get it out of the pot and into the ground, but that sure wasn't going to happen on my pad's postage-stamp-sized lot. Hmmm... but my parents' house is just across town, and their back yard has plenty of room for large trees. All I needed to do was move the tree a couple of miles without getting arrested, horribly injured, and/or killing the tree.


Since my brother-in-law was the one who gave me the tree in the first place, I figured I could dragoon him into helping me move it. He owns the most reliable motor vehicle I've ever met, and there's nothing a Toyota truck can't do, right? We drove the route between the two houses, taking low-traffic side streets, and checked for low-hanging power lines and the like. It all looked good, so we recruited another burly tree-moving helper, got up early one Sunday morning, muscled the pot into the truck bed, and tied it down. For added safety, I decided to ride in the bed with the tree, to hold the trunk steady and watch for possible impacts with low-hanging wires and branches. We set up an early-90s Nissan pickup as the chase vehicle, turned on the hazards in both trucks, and crept off on our voyage at 5 MPH. Fortunately, there was little traffic at 7:00 AM on a Sunday, and so we didn't build up a long line of enraged tailgaters. The tree cleared the wires with feet inches to spare, and eventually we were negotiating the turn into the destination driveway.


Success! Let's hope the tree survives transplanting.

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