Date: 17 January 2001
Originally published in: Het laatste nieuws (Belgium)
Tree nursery Arbor in Houtvenne has exported an exceptionally tall tree to a client in Great Britain. A plane tree of 18,5 metres and with a circumference of 1,10 metres was loaded on a special truck and driven to the harbour Zeebrugge under police escort. From there it went by ship to Hull. The final destination of the tree was Winwick Park in Warrington, England. The whole transport was followed by the film crew of Kim Wilde, former pop star, who now has a television show on the BBC.
Tree nursery Arbor in Houtvenne is specialised in big trees and shrubs and also delivers all over Europe. Besides the nursery in Houtvenne the Van Dyck family owns large terrains in Valenciennes in the north of France, together representing some 400 acres.
There are only two comparable businesses in Europe. Arbor delivers in Eastern Europe, Germany, France, Scandinavia, Spain and Great Britain. One of the most important clients is the city of Paris. The nursery does not sell to private persons.
«Although this is absolutely the biggest living tree we’ve ever transported, special transports with police escort are not that exceptional», Klaus Van Dyck knows. «Beside the fifteen normal transports every week we regularly get trucks that are longer than 17 metres. Those are always escorted. It was clearly the intention of the contractors to set a record.»
Arbor is currently investigating the possibility to transport living trees with a ship over the Albertkanaal.
The tree nursery is in the hands of the Van Dyck family for four generations already. «That’s why we have been able to specialise in big trees. There are still trees here that are planted by my granddad Gerard Van Dyck. The plane tree that was brought to England, is 35 to 40 years old and may have been planted by my grandfather.» After Gerard, Maurice and brother Gust managed the business. Gust, the elder brother, has retired. With their kids – four nephews of which Klaus is one – and grandchildren, succession is assured.
«Big trees can only be displaced if they have been repeatedly already», Klaus continues. «If we don’t do that, the roots become to large. By digging out the trees we can prevent that from happening.» The machine costs about 8 million Belgian francs. (MSG)