– We make our living owning and operating a wholesale/retail nursery business here in the Pacific Northwest corner of the U.S. Recently, we rescued a large Japanese Maple from the chain saws and transported it back here to our nursery. A local paper came out that day and did a story on what it takes to rescue big trees and the story came out in today’s Everett’s Herald Newspaper.
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Transplanting big trees is a labor of love for Monroe nursery owner
The thieves were smart enough to recognize that the old Japanese maple in a Mercer Island yard was worth thousands.
That’s where the smarts ended.
The tree probably looked like an easy haul. It had been dug up, its roots neatly packaged into a burlap ball for a move the next day. But the Japanese maple was a lot heavier than its graceful bare limbs suggested, weighing in about 2,000 pounds.
“They were stupid,” said Sharon Ronsse, the nursery owner coordinating the move. “They tried to move it, broke the root ball. It took five years of babying to recover it.”
Transplanting big old trees involves more than shovels and a big truck. It requires skill, patience, the right conditions and often thousands of dollars. It’s risky — for the tree and the mover. Only a handful of businesses in Snohomish County do it.
Ronsse’s company, Woods Creek Wholesale Nursery in Monroe, is one of them. The nursery, which she co-owns with husband Dennis Gallagher, sells 500 kinds of plants and trees. But it’s the old Japanese maples and other special specimens the business salvages, often from yards where homeowners don’t like the trees or they have become too big.
Ronsse considers what she does a rescue operation, since the alternative is usually cutting down the tree. She does it, she said, more for altruistic reasons than the cash. Japanese maples are a passion: She loves the layering, the coloring and the textures. They’re living beings that should be treated accordingly, she said.