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Big Trees, Inc. News Articles
Sprucing up the place PDF Print E-mail

Courthouse lawn gets permanent Christmas tree

This is an article about a job we did in Morris, IL.  The home owner was a local real estate agent who donated this tree to city hall. 

They didn't sing 'Oh Tannenbaum" as Bonnie and Jim Garlings' giant live Christmas tree dug into its new home on the courthouse lawn Wednesday.

The couple, however, was counting their blessings from their gift to the community - they now have room in their front yard to plant a baby gingko tree, which takes 100 years to grow maturity.

The Garlings' 10-year-old, 12-foot tall Colorado Blue Spruce was a mere sprout - a seedling, a whip - when the couple planted it the year after moving into their new home in Morris in 1994.

"A baby," Bonnie pined.  "I didn't realize how big it would grow.  My idea was we could decorate it with lights.  I thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice to have a little evergreen here.'  I stress 'little.'  As it kept growing, I said, 'This thing's getting out of hand."

The typical Colorado Blue Spruce grows to about 80 feet in height, and 40 feet in width.

The Garlings finally branched out into the community about trimming the tree, and approached Bob Tesdal to saw down the green monster.

"I thought it too nice a tree for that, and we'd been trying to get one for the courthouse lawn the past two or three years," said Tesdal.

"So, I got Lonnie Booker involved, and we came up with a plan for the tree, and saw Sheriff Terry Marketti about it.  He liked the idea, and we finally got the move done today."

By law, the county sheriff is the keeper of the courthouse and grounds.

Booker and Tesdal went to Kevin DeVries of Minooka, who operates the Big Trees service, and has transplanted other trees in Morris, including those at the new home Congressman Jerry Weller built near White Oak Elementary School.

"DeVries was very gracious in that his minimum fee is much more than he charged us," said Booker.

"Bob and I are picking up the tab for the move, which didn't come to all that much.  We got to save a tree, which is the main thing."

"And Jim can drive by the courthouse all the time and look at it," said Tesdal.

Garling said he had a goal of his own when he planted the tree a decade ago.

"To let it grow so someday I could give it to the courthouse," he noted with a chuckle.




This article is in reference to a project we were involved in with the Chicago Park District . It was quite a unique experience in which we transplanted an entire prairie with tree spades!

Prairie Being Moved To Greener Pastures

By  K.  O. Dawes, Nature Writer
The Chicago Park District will be wearing its white hat this week as it rides to the rescue of a little patch of prairie that stands in the way of residential development.

With the help of lumbering trucks equipped with tree spades, it will scoop up great chunks of the little prairie remnant behind the Westport Commons shopping center, 87th and Kedzie, and carry them off--not into the sunset, but to an island in Marquette Park, just north of 71st at Kedzie.

Work began Saturday but was hampered, not by the snow and cold, but because the ground wasn't frozen solid. Loads of gravel had to be dumped so heavy trucks could get to the area.

"It's so unusual to find a prairie remnant in the city, we had to do something," said Park District landscape designer Barbara Wood.  The 2-acre plot once had belonged to Evergreen Cemetery and probably never has been farmed, she said.

The Park District couldn't afford to buy it but was able to find funds to move it where it could continue to grow protected, she said.

Called Ashburn Prairie, it is a wet prairie, with a high water table, where blue flags and blue-eyed grass grow alongside mountain mint, scouring rush horsetail, nodding wild onion and water parsnip. In all, 64 significant native species of plants grow there, including some choice ones such as prairie sundrop, Illinois rose and nodding ladies' tresses.

"Prairie plants are unique," said Michaelene Brown, Park District naturalist. "They have tough, real deep roots that can go down as far as the plant is tall." So the rescuers will use tree spades, designed to dig up trees, roots and all.

The workers dislodge plugs of earth 7 to 8 feet wide and 4 to 5 feet deep. Some roots will be lost, but most will survive. As many as 350 plugs will be taken to the shore of a lagoon in the park--up to an acre, said Wood.

The site near the lagoon was chosen to match as closely as possible the plants' original water supply. The holes in the prairie will be filled with dirt from the holes
in the park.

The plugs will be spaced 5 to 8 feet apart so native grasses like big blue stem or turkey can spread. Spaces will be filled with other prairie flowers, hand "drilled" into the soil, Wood said.

The lagoon-side site of the new prairie last was used as a victory garden in World War II, said Brian Williquette, operations supervisor at Marquette Park. It's his budget that was invaded to save the prairie, but he welcomes it. "I grew up next to one of the last remaining prairies in Illinois, Sundew Prairie near Midlothian," he said. "We used to play there, and the gardening and farming in the area gave me my interest in horticulture.

"It's a shame that this is name "The Prairie State" and we have so few left."


Evergreen sprucing up new home PDF Print E-mail

This project involved transplanting a large Colorado spruce in Shorewood, Illinois, not far from our headquarters.

Evergreen sprucing up new home. Flood memorial: Couple lost home, but tree survived.

By Catherine Ann Velasco

SHOREWOOD, IL - As one of the survivors of the 1996 flood, a 34-foot tall Colorado spruce tree found a new home in front of Village Hall this week thanks to the couple who planted it in front of their home about 40 years ago. Wanting to save an old friend, Michael and Fran Preston donated their tree to the village which will be used as a memorial to the people who lost their homes during the flood, said Nancy Roman, flood grant administrator for Shorewood. The couple, who can not hear or speak, wrote to the village last year, asking them to take their tree before their house was demolished. They now live in Ohio. "There is a beautiful tall X-mas tree you can have it for your village use or send it to the White House. I planted it when it was four feet tall", Frank Preston wrote. "You can have it before my place is razed." The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave the village about $4 million in grant money to buy the 43 flood-damaged homes, to demolish them and to maintain the land as open space. Out of that money, he tree was moved by Big Trees Inc. of Minooka. "It was very impressive to watch the equipment", Roman said, "it looks like a big claw." Moving a 34-foot tree isn’t easy, said Kevin DeVries co-owner of Big Trees, Inc. To protect the branches from breaking, the first 15- feet of limbs had to be tied together. Then, they had to dig a hole at the village hall, exca- vating 11,000pounds of dirt. The hole was 90 inches wide in diameter and 5 1/2feet deep. The dirt was taken to the Preston’s home and drop- ped next to the tree. With a giant shovel the tree was pulled out carefully to get all of its root systems. Then, the village’s dirt was placed in the Preston’s treeless hole. "You need to make sure the root system is intact. Most trees have an extensive root system and you need to excavate a lot of dirt around the root system. That’s why it cost so much to move a tree.You can’t just dig it up and put it in a pick-up truck," DeVries said. It costs about $500 to move a tree. To prevent the tree from blowing away, anchors were placed around the tree and tied to the trunk with aircraft cable. To celebrate the new memorial and the expansion of the Village Hall,an open house will be held from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at Village Hall, 903 Jefferson St. "We figure that Plainfield has a nice memorial for the tornado and it would be appropriate for us to do something for the flood," Roman said.





Kevin M DeVries
Certification ID


View our samples of some the Colorado Blue and Green Spruce we have available. Also available are Norway and White Spruce. We have found that the White Spruce can tolerate wetter sites. All of these trees are grown in Northern Illinois in heavy clay and range from 14'-34'. Click here to view the image gallery.


Please take a moment to view some sample photos of various Maple trees that we have available. Sizes range from 4" in trunk diameter [measured 12" up from ground] to 9". Click here to view image gallery.

Shade Trees

View our samples of some the Shade Trees we have available. Please click here to view the image gallery.


View our samples of some the Ornamental Trees we have available. Please click here to view the image gallery.