Is a new outdoor patio, deck, or pool part of your plans? Do you resent moving a small but well-established tree out of the way? Do you have trouble affording or arranging for a professional to bring their extensive equipment? The good news is that it’s doable by hand with only a little muscle and inventiveness. I did it, and so can you.
My motto for this assignment is to channel your inner Egyptian pharaoh.
To begin with, the issue:
I was having a pool dug in my backyard, but a gorgeous eight-foot Japanese maple was in the way. I wanted to rescue this tree and move it to serve as the focal point of the landscaping after the pool was put in. Getting the tree out of the way initially wasn’t a big deal. The excavator uprooted it with a single large scoop and deposited it somewhere. The landscaping project could not proceed until the pool installation was much closer to completion. Therefore, I was unable to have it moved to its new site. In addition, I planned to use landscaping pebbles I already had on the site to construct a raised garden bed with two levels, and I wanted the tree to be situated on the highest level. The tree, its roots, and the soil it was tied to weighed 300–400 pounds, making this relocation an expensive and challenging proposition. The landscaping I had just finished would have been ruined even if I could have afforded a costly professional move; the rock retaining wall had already been built so that the excavator could dump the topsoil from the dig directly into the new garden beds. Later on, I would have to relocate this tree by myself physically. I needed to come up with a strategy.
The pyramids of Giza were constructed by the ancient Egyptians, who moved tons of stone by hand. Sure, they had a lot of people working to supply the necessary energy, but I believed our problems were the same. I knew there had to be a way to bring the same level of engineering to my new patio but on a much smaller scale. My father used a stone boat, a flatbed sled on runners hauled by the tractor, to move enormous boulders about on the property. These two considerations gave me the foundation I needed to formulate a strategy.
What to do:
The excavator removed topsoil from the pool dig and stacked it in big mounds between the two raised beds. I think I can construct ramps, just like the Egyptians did. First, I leveled up the soil in the upper bed, digging out a space big enough for my tree’s dirt mound. To go from the end of the lower bed to the level of the upper bed, I constructed a dirt ramp. From the floor outside the lower bed, I climbed up to its level. The physical cost of conducting business includes moving this dirt again at some point. That was the simple part; I still had to relocate the tree.
I began by driving two 2x4s beneath the dirt mound with a sledgehammer, leaving about four feet of space between them. I then used a long bar as a lever to pry the 2x4s up and finished by placing rocks under them. Then, I retrieved the snow shovel I usually use to clear the driveway, deciding that it would serve as the boat’s hull. I shoved the mound of dirt under the tree and onto the scoop with a fair amount of muscular force. It was a struggle, but I made it up the two ramps with the tree alone. It would have been more thoughtful of me to enlist assistance, but oh well. Since I knew I couldn’t move the tree after it was in place, I ensured it was at the correct angle and rotation. I set the tree down and ensured it was on an even keel. Another issue was that it stood awkwardly high in the bed, but I solved that by constructing a second, smaller raised bed inside the first. This error was visually beneficial, as it looked far better than I had initially planned.
So, there you have it: my account of manually uprooting a mature tree. By channeling my inner ancient Egyptian and remembering my time spent on the farm many years ago, I could save thousands of dollars on landscaping costs while laying the groundwork for a lovely two-tiered garden to complement my brand-new pool. I feel pleased with myself for having done that. I did everything with muscle and creativity; anyone can do it if they put in the time and effort. Think like an ancient Egyptian—that’s the catchphrase to remember.
Quality Cedar Patio and Garden, owned by Kenneth Watson.
Please email me at email@example.com.
You can also contact us through our website at http://www.qualitycedarpatioandgarden.com.
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