In a true celebration of our Places for People™️ philosophy, Indigo is proud to present People of Indigo—a collection of stories and interviews from the people who played essential roles in bringing Indigo to fruition, and keep it growing today. They have built, designed, laid bricks, continue to tend the farm, and much more. We're kicking off this new series with Alex Burk, Project Manager at Environmental Design Inc. He played the most pivotal role in the planting of Indigo's first trees, orchestrating and coordinating one haul driver, two police escorts, two large excavators, one small skid steer, and an 8-man crew to get these roots safely planted into the ground. We learned so much about the process when we spoke with Alex—we hope you find it as fascinating as we did!
Q. Tell us who you are?
A. Alex Burk, Project Manager at Environmental Design Inc.
Q. What is your work background?
A. My work background is multi-faceted. Most of my early professional career was in the marketing industry. I changed industries in 2019 and started working for a general contractor here in Houston. EDI was one of my subcontractors. We got along great and I thought what EDI did is really interesting work. I ended up starting at EDI in November of 2021.
Q. How are you part of the Indigo family?
A. Meristem Communities bought two large live oaks from us a couple years ago. They reached out to us because we are known as the "big tree people" and they wanted to go big. Since the community didn’t already have trees on site, they wanted to make sure to plant some iconic shade before people started moving in. We finally got them planted last week.
Q. What inspired you to go into the landscaping business?
A. I didn’t want to go into general landscaping. The services EDI provides is very niche but there’s also a strong demand for transplanting large trees. I was inspired by EDI’s work on my park project when I was a GC and they were a subcontractor of mine. Bottomline for me, EDI performs some really cool services and that drew me to them.
Q. Can you tell us about the history of these trees and their significance to the area?
A. The trees were planted in the early 1990s at our tree farm in Monaville, TX. The trees were initially planted out of 5 gallon containers, had 1/4" in caliper, and were about 4-5' tall. They were irrigated for the first 7-8 years in the 90s and then we let Mother Nature take over moisture management. At the time we hauled them out of our Monaville tree farm to bring them to Indigo, the caliper of both trees was about 22" in diameter.
Q. Tell us about the process of tree transplanting!
A. Transplanting large box trees is a multi step process:
- Root prune the tree.
- Keep the tree hydrated.
- Box the tree (in Indigo's case, a 12' x 12' box).
- Using a large excavator, slide a steel plate under the box tree. We then pull the steel plate slowly to pull the tree out of the ground.
- Set the tree on blocks above ground and keep hydrated.
- Slide our patented tilt trailer underneath the lifted box tree and tilt the tree onto the trailer.
- The box tree is now ready to ship down the road.
- Once we get to the planting location, we follow the same process but in reverse. Unload the tree off the tilt trailer, set it on a steel skid plate, slide the tree into the final planting location, remove skid plate from under the tree, remove the box, backfill with soil around the rootball, service with mulch, and water the transplanted tree pretty heavily.
Q. What are you hoping for the future of these trees?
A. I hope these trees bring a smile to anyone’s face when they turn into the Indigo development or are just passing by the neighborhood on Harlem Road. If properly cared for, the trees will thrive and continue to grow. I hope they’ll eventually become a focal point of Indigo if they aren’t already.
Topics: People of Indigo