Thursday, March 22 , 2018, 10:58 pm | Light Rain Fog/Mist 57º


Tree Pulls Up Roots, Settles Into New Digs

The Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society moves a tree as it prepares to embark on a library expansion

A well-organized crew and a huge crane moved the Cherry of the Rio Grande (Eugenia aggregata) from the back of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society’s property at 316 Castillo St. to the front of the property, where the public also can enjoy it.

The tree, a native of Brazil, was planted as a seed more than 50 years ago by Dr. Melville and Geraldine Sahyun, when the property was the site of Melville Sahyun’s pharmaceutical research lab.

Valley Crest Tree Moving Company said it was the first time it had moved such a tree. The Genealogical Society has determined that the tree is the only one of its kind in Santa Barbara County and maybe even in Southern California.

The tree was moved to make room for the expansion of the society’s Sahyun Library, which will break ground in the fall. Preparations for the move began in January with the construction of a 12-foot box around the roots and base of the tree. Throughout spring, the tree put out new growth, new blossoms and new fruit, proving that it was healthy.

The crane had to dance on its toes several times to fit the tight space afforded by the Sahyun Library driveway. By 9 a.m. Wednesday, under the watchful eyes of society members Cheryl and Gary Jensen, Jan Cloud, John Shute, Cari Thomas and Art Sylvester, the crane lifted the tree and its box — weighing a total of 65,000 pounds — out of the hole, hoisted it over the garden and settled it into its new digs.

The consensus of the crew and onlookers is that the tree looks just perfect in its new site.

— Arthur Sylvester is president of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

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