Every day is Arbor Day for Bob Thibodaux, who operates Bob’s Tree Preservation Service in the small Cajun town of Church Point, Louisiana. Thibodaux has made it a personal crusade to plant as many live oak trees as he can.
“They’re just an awesome tree,” says Thibodaux. And in Louisiana, he says live oak trees, “can live 2,000 years”. Living in south Louisiana, Thibodaux has seen his share of hurricanes and the destruction and human misery they leave behind. “But you go to where these live oaks are and you can see that they withstood the storm,” Thibodaux explains. “You can plainly see where they slow down winds.”
acorns from the mightiest live oak trees
Thibodaux believes that that oldest and strongest live oak trees are the perfect “parent trees” for his oak seedlings. He will collect acorns from the old giants and plant and nurture them in large buckets at his Church Point property. “We see superior quality trees”, Thibodaux says. A great example is the huge “Jim Bowie Oak” in downtown Opelousas. The tree is a founding member of the Louisiana Live Oak Society. The old tree is confined by buildings, a major roadway and sidewalk. Its huge roots buckle and bend around the obstructions. “This tree had to have superior genetics”, Thibodaux explains, “because it grew in such a harsh environment and survived.”
Thibodaux takes me for a ride along the gravel road through is arboretum. We drive by dozens of acres of live oaks and other types of oak trees. To my surprise, Thibodaux says the large oak trees that shade the road were planted from acorns only 20 years ago. And he says that rapid growth was done without fertilizer and without irrigation. The secret to that success, he explains, “is taking care of the land and never putting anything in the soil unless it’s going to make it better”.
a man on a mission to plant live oak trees
Through his company, Bob’s Tree Preservation Service, Thibodaux tries to donate 25-hundred live oak seedlings each year to various conservation groups across the South. He says he believes in sharing what he considers a magnificent tree. It’s a lesson he learned from his Great Grandmother. Thibodaux says she told him, “When you come to the Pearly Gates, the Eternal reward will be a bird’s-eye view of all the trees that you left on God’s green earth. That should be an amazing view.
TV Story on Bob’s Live Oak Arboretum
Bob’s Tree Preservation Service, 740 S. Main Street, Church Point, LA. Phone: (337) 684-5431