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Disney prepares to move large, mature trees
Jill Odom | February 13, 2016
Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced at D23 EXPO 2015 that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced at D23 EXPO 2015 that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Photo: Disney

While some portions of Disneyland’s attractions are being closed to make way for the new Star Wars land, certain trees are getting prepped for a new home.

According to , shortly after Disney’s chairman and CEO, Bob Iger, announced in August 2015 the development of the new park area, he met with urban forester Rhonda Wood to discuss what trees should be saved from Frontierland.

“We were looking for large specimen trees that would look good in the realm, either screening off a view of the land, or had a 360-degree aesthetic look that would fit in with the landscape,” Wood said.

The Star Wars portion of the park is not themed from any planet that fans have seen and is said to look like “a remote frontier town” that will take up 14 acres. It features an abundance of plant life in the concept art and Disney Imagineers are wanting some fully grown trees so the planet looks like it has always existed.

Nearly 1,000 trees, both old and new, will be planted in the Stars Wars land. Some will come from nurseries, while others will be dug up from Frontierland.

Because some of the trees are 20, 30 and even 60 years old, and 40 feet or taller, a significant amount of preparation is required in order to box up these trees.

“For large trees, we start off by pre-watering the tree and getting that root system healthy and vibrant from where we’re going to box it because we can’t box the entire root system,” Woods said.

Crews then dig about three feet deep and place a wooden box around the perimeter of the tree. Roots that extend past the box are cut and wooden planks are placed underneath the tree as well. Once boxed, a crane will extract the tree from the ground.

So far 18 trees have been saved and put in storage to be cared for until they are ready to be planted. One tree, a holly oak, reaches 45 feet and was originally planted by Bill Evans, who did the landscaping for the park back in 1954.

Another tree that is being preserved is a cottonwood known as the “Dreaming Tree,” which was a gift from the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, Missouri.

“The tree was given to Disneyland in 2005 as a sapling from the original Dreaming Tree,” Wood said.

According to Walt Disney, this was a tree that he sat under often during his childhood, daydreaming. When he returned to his hometown from time to time, he would visit the tree to contemplate his achievements.

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