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4,000-year-old cypress tree survives move

(Xinhua)

19:37, December 30, 2011

XI'AN, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- An ancient cypress tree has shown signs of growth after it was transplanted during the spring in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, according to local gardening experts.

New branches of the tree have emerged after nine months of preservation and maintenance.

The tree, which is said to have a history of over 4,000 years according to local villagers of Huangling county, had to be removed in order for the construction of a water-control project, or else it would have been submerged.

In November 2009, the preliminary process of the transplantation began, according to Wang Chunmei, head of the county's publicity department.

About nine months later, the experts considered it an appropriate time to transplant when the newly-grown capillary roots, which are vital to the root system and determine how much water and minerals a plant can absorb, had formed.

On March 28, with the help of giant cranes, trucks, and a soil ball to protect its roots, the ancient tree, which weighs 450 tonnes, was moved to its new home 2.5 km away from its original location. The entire process took about four hours.

According to provincial regulations, trees over 100 years old are protected, and ancient trees, over 1,000 years old, receive the highest level of protection.

Trees with a long history are considered a symbol of eternity and witnesses to Chinese history, and locals generally revere the ancient trees, as they believe the trees possess souls.

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