Collecting a tree with the President

A few months ago, I get a text message from the new BSF President, Kathrin, along with some pics:

“…..I was at my trust attorneys office today and saw this amazingly large ficus microcarpa. They are going to remove it…do you suppose we could salvage it for a future BSF demo (if it survives?)…”


“…It’s base is maybe 15×13 and it’s mainly up against a wall and probably growing underneath the sidewalk and stairs. I imagine 50-60% of the roots would be lost in removal…”


“….This is in Punta Gorda, just off 41 south of downtown. I could bring the saws-all or whatever other tools if you think you and I may be able to remove it and you can keep it alive!”

Well, I’m always game to do some digging, so I say “Sure, when do you want to do it?”

……and that’s how I found myself following Kathrin on I75, on the way to a Punta Gorda strip mall, at 5pm, on a Saturday evening, after a studygroup session, in December.


We get to the property about 5:15 and we have about 15 minutes before the sun sets. No worries, I’m good under pressure.

Kathrin got right into it, digging away the river rock they used for mulch.


We have a brand new blade for the reciprocating saw (the best blade for collecting is a 12″ Diablo pruning blade made by Milwaukee, the red blade you see below).


It was brand new, mind you.

The tough part, as Kathrin said, was the tree butted right up against the stairs. The way you dig a tree in Florida is to cut around the trunk, severing the big roots as you go around, and pop it out. We have it easy here in the Sunshine State. But, with the tree literally flush with the stair wall, that wasn’t an option.


But we persevered, and got it out.


It’s a fairly big tree.


And, in the pic below, that’s a big root. That was the root growing under the slab. It’s about 9 inches thick


It burnt up two batteries and wore out the brand new blade.


The tree fills up the back of my van.


Kathrin took all the top branches we cut off, for cuttings and disposal.


Now, a few days later, I find myself back at my nursery. I have to fit that tree into the round pot.


A little more root work.


And there we have it, it fits!


Strong tie down wires so it doesn’t move.


Some water.


And “Bob’s yer uncle!” Let’s hope it survives, it’ll make a fantastic demo tree for a BSF Convention in a few years.