Thursday, January 24, 2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Champion Trees

Did you know that there are over 126 recognized National Champion trees in Florida? The most of any state!! In fact, two of Florida’s National Champion trees are located in the City of Fort Lauderdale.

A National Champion tree is defined as the largest tree of a particular species which must be recognized as either native, non-native, naturalized or a recognized naturally occurring variety in the United States. Some famous examples nation-wide include the “General Sherman” Giant Sequoia (California), “The Senator” Bald Cypress (Florida) and the “Angel Oak” (South Carolina).

Florida also has its own Champion Tree program for trees that may not be large enough for consideration as National Champions, but are still the largest species examples within the state. The City of Fort Lauderdale has one State Champion tree.

To learn how to identify and/or nominate a tree as a National or State Champion, visit the Florida Champion Trees program.

National Champion, Mahogany Tree

National Champion, Pitch Apple Tree

Florida Champion, Canary Island Date Palm

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 15th Tree Giveaway Event

Here is some pertinent information for the City of Fort Lauderdale's next Quarterly Tree Giveaway. For additional information about the City of Fort Lauderdale's Tree Giveaway Programs please visit the below web link:

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fort Lauderdale's Bicentennial Liberty Live Oak Tree (Revision)

The City of Fort Lauderdale’s Bicentennial Liberty Live Oak tree, located adjacent to the Riverwalk area within Bubier Park, is approaching 250 years and I recently uncovered a trove of information and photographs documenting the tree’s relocation, providing a unique look into the past.

Live Oak Tree: September 1976
The live oak tree was donated to the City by Judge Robert O’Toole in early 1976 at over 200 years old. It was originally located near southeast 1st avenue and southeast 6th street in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The tree weighed over 50 tons and had a height of 30-35 inches and an average spread of 50-inches. Its relocation was considered to be the largest successful bare-root transplant of a tree in the world at that time.

The City’s then Urban Forester, Mike Moore, coordinated the relocation and preservation of the live oak tree. It had to be root pruned and braced before transport. The project was a massive undertaking and required coordination from multiple entities including the Florida Forest Service, FPL, Eller Company, Powell Brothers and Koch Towing Company. At one point, the City’s Fire Department was also called in to help free the tree roots from coral rock after a cable snapped during transport. After five months of preparation, over 40 personnel, a flatbed truck, and river barge along with three broken 155 ton steel cables the tree was successfully relocated on September 8, 1976.
On June 27, 1978, the live oak tree was renamed the Bicentennial Live Oak Tree as part of the dedication for the Robert H. Bubier Memorial Park. It was later renamed the Bicentennial Liberty Live Oak Tree, with installation of an official plaque, at a ceremony on September 11, 2002 in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 horrific events. Disney World’s Liberty Tree served as the original inspiration for the plaque dedication and wording as authored by Doug Eagon of the Stiles Corporation.
Today the Bicentennial Liberty Live Oak Tree is still doing fairly well at almost 250 years. Significant work was done to improve the tree’s overall health and vitality after impacts from a storm in August 2017. With such a historic past, the City will continue ongoing tree management efforts to preserve the tree well into the future!

Live Oak Tree: September 1976
Bicentennial Liberty Live Oak Tree Today

Thursday, October 25, 2018

King Tides and Your Trees

Trees face many challenges to their continued growth and survival including pressure from overdevelopment, climate change, exotic pests/diseases, storms etc. In Fort Lauderdale and much of South Florida, trees face the added challenge of exposure to salt water during King Tide events, which typically occur between August and November of each year. King Tides are the highest tides of the year and can cause salt water flooding of low-lying areas. Their occurrence corresponds to specific phases of the moon and can be exacerbated by other factors, such as storms.

Increased salt water flooding can cause tree impacts including premature leaf drop, leaf burn and, in some cases, complete death of the exposed tree. To combat the effects of King Tides on trees, the following are highly recommended for trees in locations vulnerable to tidal flooding:

  • Planting of Florida native salt tolerant trees (i.e. Orange Geiger, Gumbo Limbo, Jamaican Caper);
  • Utilization of planting methods such as Mounded Planting which elevates the trees roots above grade and reduces salt water exposure (reference image below); and
  • Implementation of a tree maintenance plan that includes proper watering, pruning and fertilization to optimize tree health.
Trees that are salt intolerant and/or stressed due to improper planting and maintenance are often the first to succumb to saltwater flooding events. For additional information on how to protect your trees and prepare for King Tides, please visit the following websites:

Mounded planting which can help protect newly planted trees from flooding and future grade changes.


Some examples of Florida Native Salt Tolerant Trees

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Call Before You Dig

November 30th, marks the end of this year’s hurricane season! It is important to utilize the Sunshine State One (811) service before beginning the replanting process and/or removing fallen trees from your property. Digging new holes, utilizing stump grinding machines, and clearing root balls from uprooted trees may impact underground utilities such as gas, power, cable wires, and pipes causing substantial additional damage. The Sunshine State One (811) service is responsible for coordinating visually marking of all underground utilities present at the service area (within the right of way swale) with flags painted in accordance with the American Public Works Association (APWA) Uniform Color Codes image below.

Note that Sunshine State One (811) is a totally free service and, per Florida State law, they are required to respond within two business days unless under a declared emergency. Visit Sunshine811 for additional information and/or to submit any official utility marking requests.