Tree Mover Blog

Environmental Design Moves Historic Camperdown Elms at the Oregon State Capitol

     Completed in mid-May this year, Environmental Design has transplanted four large diameter Camperdown Elms at the state capitol building in Salem Oregon.

     This is the third time that these highly ornate and gnarled species have been transplanted.  The state capitol building has been ravaged by fire twice over the years.  The first fire occurred on the night of December 29th 1855.  The newly constructed wood frame capitol building burned to the ground.  In 1876 a new capitol building was completed and survived until April 1935 when it also was destroyed by a devastating fire.  The Camperdown elms survived but again had to be moved on site.  This third relocation will be to facilitate current new construction on the capitol grounds.

     HISTORY OF THE CAMPERDOWN ELM “Ulmus glabra camperdownii”

     In 1835, in Dundee, Scotland a forester employed by the Earl of Camperdown took a graft from an unusually gnarled elm and incorporated it with other trees on the property.  Over time the new variety became similarly gnarled and took on an exquisite personality of its own. It is now known as the Camperdown Elm.

     ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN Project Manager Jacob Cox and Division Manager David Cox are in charge of the transplanting project.  They employed the use of the round ball/crane pick method due to the massive, heavy root balls.      

 After trenching around the entire perimeter of the root ball, the area was cleared in order to reinforce it with wire mesh and tightly bound burlap.   

     With the preservation in place, 4.5” inch diameter drill stem piping was inserted at close intervals under the root system.   When the piping was secured the fifty thousand pound trees were removed from their positions to their new, previously prepared sites with the use of cranes.   Each tree was then lifted and placed on a trailer for transport to its new on site location.