Large Idaho sequoia tree plants new roots

Sequoia tree sent to an Idaho conservationist by naturalist John Muir more than a century ago was transplanted Sunday out of the way of progress

BOISE — A large sequoia tree with a history rooted in conservation was standing in the way of progress, so Sunday it was moved.

More than a century after it was planted as a sapling in a doctor’s yard in Boise, the 10-story tree was shifted across the street to make way for a hospital expansion.

The tree reached its new turf Sunday morning.

Crews started rolling the tree down Fort Street at 1 a.m., said Anita Kissée, a spokeswoman for St. Luke’s Health System.

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Once it reached its destination, crews had a bit of trouble because the inflation tubes that carried it were too long for the hole that had been dug, Kissée said. They made the hole bigger and placed the tree in at about 11:15 a.m. The movers plan to let the tree settle overnight and work on leveling it on Monday, she said. They’ll also move a lot of the soil from the original site to help the tree adapt, she said.

Here are some things to know about it and its trip months in the making.

WHAT’S THE TREE’S STORY?

More than 100 years ago, naturalist John Muir sent four sequoia seedlings to Emile Grandjean, a conservation-minded forester and early employee of the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho. Of the four sequoias from Muir’s seedlings, the only one that still exists is the one that was moved.

St. Luke’s Health System is spending $300,000 to move the 98-foot (30-meter) tree to city property about two blocks away. “We understand the importance of this tree to this community,” said Kissée. Cutting it down “was never even an option.”

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT SEQUOIAS?

Sequoias in their native habitat in California draw moisture from the misty atmosphere and can live for several thousand years and reach several hundred feet tall. The Idaho sequoia…

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