Live oaks uprooted during UT med school work

A live oak tree transplanted at UT to make way for the Dell Medical School. (Kevin Schwaller)
A live oak tree transplanted at UT to make way for the Dell Medical School. (Kevin Schwaller)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Construction for the new Dell Medical School at The University of Texas also includes moving 14 live oak trees, according to UT.

Jim Carse, an arborist for the university, says crews already moved about seven of the trees.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Heritage Trees

  • You are required by the City of Austin to put in an application if you want to remove or even build near a protected tree.
  • A tree is protected if it measures 19 inches or greater in diameter and 4.5 feet from the ground.
  • If you’re concerned someone is cutting down a large tree in your neighborhood  you can check to see if they have a permit.

The total budget to move the 14 trees is about $2 million, Carse says.

UT is using a different process to move the trees than it has in the past, involving inflatable bags placed underneath the trees.

“No picture or explanation does it justice,” he said, “you have to really see it.”

Still, not all the trees on the construction site will be saved. Carse says about two dozen trees will not be transplanted.

“Portions of all those trees (that are not transplanted) will be re-purposed into furniture and wood items for these new buildings at the medical school.”

Carse points to research about trees in urban areas.

“Big trees give us, mature trees give us the most sort of bang for our buck,” said Carse. “They give us the most environmental benefit, they give us the most shade, they capture the most particulate matter and they create the most oxygen. So saving big trees either by building around them or by picking them up and moving them in this case is really the best thing to do.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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