La Casa Assisted Living grows in more than one way…
30-Foot Live Oak Tree Planting on Merritt Island – Arbor Day, April 24th
Merritt Island, FL (April 24, 2015) – Arbor Day is all about planting and caring for trees so it is rather fitting to see that La Casa Assisted Living & Memory Care will be honoring such a holiday by planting a live oak in what will be a newly constructed courtyard. But this isn’t just any live oak. This particular oak can’t be purchased at a local nursery or home goods store. This tree is a true southern live oak that stands about 30 feet tall with its branches spanning equally as wide. The owners knew they didn’t just want any tree under which their residents would sit with family and friends, laughing and talking. Their search for the perfect tree took them all the way across the state to Brooksville, FL. This is where the Quercus virginiana was born, believe it or not 16-18 years ago.
Southern Pride Tree Farm specializes in large live oaks they spend years and years growing before they can be sold. The farm has between 100-200 large live oaks to choose from on 40 acres of property. So La Casa owners, Debbie Wilborn and Keith Krodel undergo to task of picking their new tree. They were greeted by a Southern Pride employee who would assist them in making the selection but with all her technical tree jargon she told them “the tree will call you”. So they meander across the farm looking for the perfect tree that would adorn La Casa’s new courtyard, bring shade to all the residents and many years of fond memories to all. As they peruse the many acres of live oaks Mrs. Wilborn knew what she wanted… she hoped to find the ugly duckling tree. She wanted what is referred to as a “tortured” oak tree with arthritis looking limbs. These types of oaks are common along the coast line because the coastal winds are constantly twisting and turning the limbs. However, these beautifully deformed and imperfect style trees are not wanted by tree buyers and the farms groom them to hide such imperfections. As she wandered across the many rows of trees, there it was with its bent branches and uneven limbs. The farm representative was quick to say they could prune it, straighten the branches and make it more symmetrical but Mrs. Wilborn quickly told him “Don’t touch my tree”. She loved that this tree was different, this oak had character, it would require attention and love… real TLC. And that’s what she does best! They knew this southern oak would be right at home on Grove Street.
Now, how exactly do you get a 30 foot tree from a field in Brooksville to a spanish style courtyard in Merritt Island? This delicate procedure involves a process of digging up the root ball with a special machine, placing the tree in a huge wire basket for transport, meticulously wrapping the branches to protect it from the battering winds of transport and hoisting it onto a flatbed semi tractor trailer. It really is an impressive process as we are dealing with a living tree that needs to survive this adventure or relocating. Once the 130 mile journey is complete, a large tree landscape specialist from Tampa, Tom Hughs, will be overseeing the delicate installation of the large live oak tree into the tapered hole that is about 8 foot wide and 5 ft deep. Although there is no guarantee of survival, according to Hugh’s the tree could live as long as 200-300 years and grow a limb span of 125-150 foot.
La Casa’s owners believe whole heartedly in their “Care without Compromise… Makin’ it Happen” mantra. This culture within their business has gained them a stellar reputation among the community and the respect of their colleagues and industry professionals. This southern live oak is yet another example of La Casa sparing no expense and faithfully committing, time and resources to an imperfect tree in dire need of special care and loving attention. With much faith, hope and unwavering attention this true southern live oak will find its new home on Merritt Island, Friday April 24th and grow for many, many years providing the resident’s of La Casa countless memories under the shade of an old oak tree.