Date:December 13, 2012

Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island, a vast state park and historic landmark situated off the coast of Georgia, is undergoing an expansive revitalization project. The project aims to both preserve the rich and diverse flora and fauna, and redefine Jekyll as a premier vacation site in the southeast. Since 2007, Arborguard has been collaborating with Architects, State Conservationists, and Landscapers to help protect the longevity of the island’s trees throughout many of the revitalization projects.

In 2007, Arborguard was asked to provide oversight and a variety of plant health care services to preserve the valuable vegetation threatened by construction. Because urban impact threatens sensitive roots and ecosystems, Lead Arborist and Soil Scientist, David Dechant, was closely involved with both demolition and construction planning on a variety of projects to keep Jekyll’s trees safe and healthy. As a result of Dechant’s watchful eye and expertise, all of the trees threatened by construction were left unharmed and in good condition. A custom designed “Aftercare Program” was engineered by Arborguard to keep the island’s Live Oaks flourishing. The natural blend combines sea kelp, liquid humates, yucca, and fish emulsion- materials that are natural to the coastal climate. An organic top dressing was invented by Dechant specifically for the trees in and around the new Beach Village. Foraged from the local environment, the dressing is made from shredded Live Oak leaves, Spanish moss, peanut hulls, worm castings, and NutriSmart®. This native, all natural mixture is disseminated every six months to support health and longevity.

One particularly successful project involved the installation of a roundabout intended to smoothly direct traffic entering and exiting the Island. The roundabout was to be constructed around a 40” Live Oak, and the initial circular specifications positioned the tree a mere five feet from the curb. Dechant felt the constricted design would severely impact roots and result in premature death, so he worked closely with the lead Architect to construct an oval shaped roundabout that allowed the tree ample space for root growth. The final design provided the tree with19 feet of breathing room, and was installed in May 2012; it is one of four oval roundabouts in America.

Arborguard continues to serve as Jekyll Island’s main consultant and advocate for tree care. We are dedicated to the care, protection, and preservation of trees in the urban landscape, and through environmental action, collaboration, and commitment to the needs of both people and trees, we hope to encourage a high level of awareness and sensitivity to our vital ecosystems.