For constructing new highways or for other construction work, lots of trees are cut. In some cases, they are uprooted and planted in other suitable locations, but only a few of the transplanted trees are able to survive.
Larger or older plants need to be dug out and transplanted with the root ball intact. If the roots are properly transplanted, the probability of survival is very high. But a root ball with soil and the plant attached is quite heavy, so one needs the necessary machinery and manpower to move it.
One such piece of equipment, the tree spade, operates with a four blade system. It can be mounted on most common construction vehicles.
The four blades of the tree spade are attached to hydraulically powered towers which are fixed to a circular frame. This circular frame allows the blades to surround the tree. Once the spade takes its position, the blades are plunged into the earth.
Blades dive in and clasp the earth around the tree trunk and roots. The tree is then pulled up, mounted on the truck and transplanted to a different location.
Watch the video below showing a truck-mounted super spade gouging a huge tree with a 15,000-pound root ball from the ground in a matter of minutes.