The tenants, Kermes oak trees translocated from a construction site in Beit Shemesh, received a warm welcome and a wet absorption package
Clearing and constructing’ is a term familiar to us from the real estate sector, but it is less familiar to us with respect to trees, in particular, mature trees. So what do we do when a permanent residential site of mature oak trees is a candidate for urban construction? One of the options considered in this situation is translocation of the trees to a new location. Sounds easy? Well, the thing is that it’s really not.
Over the past month, a project was carried out to translocate 27 Kermes oak trees from a construction site in Beit Shemesh to Ramat Hanadiv. The translocation process was conducted according to the mature tree preservation guidelines of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the section of the Planning and Building Law that deals with tree preservation. Translocation of the oaks to Ramat Hanadiv was enabled by fruitful cooperation with Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Keren Kayemet Le’Israel, the Ministry of Housing and Emek Ayalon Ltd. In honor of the upcoming Tu B’Shvat holiday, we share with you the details of this complex operation.
We note that in addition to the complex operation itself, which requires time, experience and broad professional knowledge, translocating mature trees is a last resort that should be implemented only in extreme situations, since the chances of a mature tree establishing successfully in a new location are not particularly high. Ramat Hanadiv would of course prefer that planning bodies gave greater consideration to natural assets in their development plans, but since it was already an established fact, Ramat Hanadiv decided to mobilise all of its professional resources to save the oaks.
In honor of the upcoming Tu B’Shvat holiday, we share with you the details of this complex operation and in this way we hope, among other things, to raise awareness of the importance of tree preservation.
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The Kermes oak tree is protected by law, and it is one of the commonest native trees in Israel, serving as a central component of the landscape texture of the Mediterranean woodland. The oak trees that were translocated to Ramat Hanadiv reached an impressive height of about 8.5 metres in their original home, with an impressive broad canopy.
Leading up to their absorption, the trees underwent a ‘cosmetic’ change including a haircut and body shaping. Their branches were pruned professionally; their apex was removed; a trench was dug around their root system and their peripheral roots were cut. These actions were done to make their absorption in their new home as easy as possible. The trees were uprooted with a large root ball, loaded onto trucks and transported to their new home at Ramat Hanadiv.
At Ramat Hanadiv we had already prepared large planting holes full of water. Each of the trees was lowered from the truck using the truck’s crane to a trailer connected to a tractor and transported to the planting site. The planting was professionally supervised by the Nature Park staff. The trees were planted using a JCB shovel, making sure that the side of the tree that originally faced north would also face north at Ramat Hanadiv. After planting the trees were irrigated to saturation; irrigation will continue until signs of full absorption success appear, including budding of leaves, and growth of new branches.
The oaks were planted near the trail to Horvat Aqev close to two ancient carob trees and an olive tree grove that was also planted this year. This site was chosen mainly because it allows access to the irrigation system, which as mentioned, will be required until their full absorption. Now, all we can do is wish them easy absorption pangs, and to ‘cross our fingers’. When you visit the Nature Park you are welcome to visit the plot of new tenants and, together with us, monitor their absorption process.
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