22 Years Later, "Sam" the Oak Tree Remains Alive and Healthy

Clearwater, FL, August 08, 2020 --(PR.com)-- As the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared August as “Tree Check Month,” there is one tree you can’t help but notice in Downtown Clearwater, “Sam” the live oak tree that earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1998 as the largest tree ever moved. It has now been 22 summers since Sam transplanted, growing bigger and stronger every year.

When the Church of Scientology planned the construction of the 350,000 square foot Flag Building, it was confronted with the question of what to do with an oak tree that stood the middle of the lot where the building would be.

This was no ordinary tree, at over 100 years of age, Sam stood 65 feet tall and weighed about 125 tons. Its trunk was 44 inches thick, and its boughs reached more than 40 yards across the lot. A tree so old that it had witnessed Fort Harrison Avenue and Cleveland Street paved with shells from a local Indian mound, and Clearwater’s growth from 400 to 116,000 residents.

Construction around the tree was unfeasible. The solution? Move it. The transplant of Sam was engineered and executed over a four-month period by Westenberger Tree Service Inc., T&B House Movers of Clearwater, and Environmental Design from Texas.

Preparations to move the tree began as early as April 1998 when Sam was started on a diet of extra water and a blend of special nutrients to ready it for the move.

The subsequent steps included boring hundreds of 2-inch holes 36 inches into the soil around the tree; filling those holes with fertilizer, soil conditioners and other substances to build up the root system; cutting the ground around the tree to form a giant root ball; bracing the roots with a system of pipes and girders; and, finally, uprooting the tree with a special lifting device and inching it slowly toward its new home. The total assembly weighed 412 tons and the move took several days.

“Sam is a live oak tree which is (almost) evergreen. It does drop some leaves in the spring but quickly replaces them,” said Pat Harney, Public Relations Director for the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization. “The Live Oak has been adopted as the 'City Tree' for Clearwater, so as Clearwater is thriving and will for many more years, so will Sam.”

About the Church of Scientology:

The Scientology religion was founded by humanitarian and philosopher, L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in the United States in 1954 and has expanded to more than 11,000 churches, missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 165 nations. Scientologists are optimistic about life and believe there is hope for a saner world and better civilization, and actively do all they can to help achieve this. The Church of Scientology regularly engages in many humanitarian programs, such as anti-drug campaigns, human rights campaigns and global education programs. To learn more, visit www.scientology.org.
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