Wellen Park relocates 26 mature live oak trees through Heritage Tree Program

VENICE, Fla. (March 15, 2021) – Decades-old live oak trees have begun the journey to their new homes at Wellen Park. The master-planned community’s Heritage Tree Program will relocate 26 healthy live oak trees from various locations within the community to Downtown Wellen.Park.

The nearly $1-million effort to relocate mature trees began more than a year ago, when the biggest and healthiest candidates were identified for relocation. The Heritage Tree Program will not only save these well-established trees but also help create an immediate sense of authenticity and scale for Downtown Wellen.

As the Heritage Tree Program moves into its next phase, a time-lapse video of the tree relocation efforts is available for viewing at

“This was the right thing to do both from a conservation point of view as well as creating a sense of place,” said Christine Masney, vice president of marketing for Wellen Park. “These trees are beautiful and worth saving, plus they will allow us to create a truly special environment at the entrance to Downtown Wellen and throughout the community.”

The trees range from 14 inches to 96 inches in diameter, and most are 60 to 80 years old. The relocation efforts are expected to take up to 16 weeks, as it takes 10 hours to move a tree 1,000 feet. The 26 live oaks being relocated in Wellen Park will be traveling anywhere from a quarter mile to almost a mile in distance.

By relocating the trees, Wellen Park will preserve a substantial environmental benefit. Annually, the 26 oak trees remove thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year while generating oxygen, as well as minimizing rainwater runoff.

One tree that is approximately 60-80 years old and more than 95 inches in diameter had a major influence on the plans for Downtown Wellen’s green space. “It’s such a focal point that we designed a lot of the buildings, the amphitheater and the grand lawns and food truck areas around that heritage tree,” said Rick Severance, president of Wellen Park. “Just as the trees will spread out roots in their new homes, so will the couples and families who choose to call Wellen Park home. Symbolically, the branches represent all of our great residents, neighborhoods, homebuilders and visitors.”

Kimley-Horn, a nationwide planning, engineering and design firm, and Environmental Design, a Texas-based national leader in tree transplantation, have been working with Wellen Park on the plan to identify and relocate the trees. Once the trees were selected, a root-pruning process was begun to define their root balls.

“Root pruning has a rejuvenating effect on older trees,” said Paul Cox, Eastern division vice president for Environmental Design and an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. “It can increase the life span of an older tree. The trees will be there a lot longer than us and our grandkids.”

When the tree is ready to be relocated, Environmental Design shapes, binds and stabilizes the root ball. Then the complex process to lift and move the tree commences. Because of Environmental Design’s patented process and the conditions at the relocation areas, Cox expects the trees to thrive in their new locations within Downtown Wellen.

“We have a 98% success rate in moving significantly sized trees,” he said. “And we’ve been doing this for 40-plus years.”

The relocated oak trees will help establish the sense of arrival as residents and visitors enter Wellen Park from U.S. 41 and travel along Wellen Park Boulevard into Downtown Wellen. “It’s about celebrating the heritage of these big trees as your first impression of Wellen Park along U.S. 41, and then carrying it all the way into the downtown space,” said Chris Cianfaglione, a landscape architect at Kimley-Horn. “We won’t have to wait 15 years for nice big trees to appear.”

But the relocation efforts are about more than just the community’s visual appearance. Saving these trees allows them to continue helping to minimize the effects of stormwater runoff and clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide. “These 26 trees have stored hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide over their lifetime,” said Cianfaglione.

Wellen Park’s Heritage Tree Program is just one component of the master-planned community’s intentional approach to champion sustainability and celebrate its environmental assets in Downtown Wellen and elsewhere throughout the community. Wellen Park is also repurposing boulders removed in construction areas for landscaping purposes adjacent to Downtown Wellen’s Grand Lake and at the community’s Public Safety Building. Some of the rock removed during lake excavation will also be crushed and used for roadway subbase, the lake’s edge and as feature boulders used throughout Downtown Wellen.

The design and site plans for the entire community and its neighborhoods include efforts to save and showcase preserve land. New lakes created in the community will be designed to preserve and store water for irrigation. The community’s irrigation program will utilize stormwater and wells, with the use of reclaimed water a possibility in the future.

Wellen Park was named the No. 4 top-selling master-planned community in the U.S. for 2020 by prominent real estate consulting firms John Burns and RCLCO. Wellen Park offers a vibrant mix of residential, commercial and recreational options amongst three districts: West Villages, Downtown Wellen and Playmore. The community currently has approximately 8,000 residents, and at full build-out will have more than 60,000 residents and 22,000 homes.

Currently under construction, Downtown Wellen will feature a vibrant hub filled with shopping, dining and entertainment options and other amenities. The mixed-use development will be open to residents and visitors alike and feature waterfront experiences, pedestrian-friendly streets and public community spaces.

Expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2022, Phase One of Downtown Wellen will include retail shops; waterfront dining and other restaurants; a town hall; a kids’ playground and splash pad; a food truck kiosk area; an outfitter equipped with e-bikes, paddle boards and kayaks for enjoying the active lake; and a three-mile health and wellness trail.

New neighborhood options from national and local homebuilders are now available for every budget and lifestyle choice in Wellen Park’s Playmore District, ranging from condominiums and smaller villa homes to larger single-family residences.

The community’s brand and vision are rooted in wellness. Wellen Park’s wellness focus is holistic and practical, designed to give residents greater opportunities to connect with one another, take care of themselves and encourage a healthy and active lifestyle, all within an inclusive, genuine community vibe.

For more information about living at Wellen Park, call 941-499-8210, go to or visit the Welcome Center at 12275 Mercado Drive in Venice, Fla. The Welcome Center is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.


Jennifer Hamilton, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758, [email protected]


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