Sunday, December 19, 2010

Care and Maintenance of Idyllwild's Living Christmas Tree

2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the community of Idyllwild gathering around a living Christmas tree. Folks here have been watching it light up, singing Christmas carols and rejoicing in the approaching holiday and winter season for half a century now.

The idea for what has become an Idyllwild tradition took root in 1959 when the Idyllwild Lions Club spear-headed a project to move a 45-foot fir tree from Pine Cove to the Village Center. In December 1960, a tradition was born when community members gathered around Idyllwild’s first living community Christmas tree. Santa Claus made an appearance promising to deliver gifts that individuals had brought for Sherman Indian students in Riverside.

That original fir succumbed to a severe attack by fir beetles in the summer of 1962 and had to be cut down in March of the following year. A new community Christmas tree was needed and it was decided that one of the giant sequoia trees from Eleanor Park would be the ideal candidate. This same tree is still used for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony today, but history has a way of repeating itself.

Last year it became apparent that California’s continued drought, coupled with soil compaction, was having an adverse effect on the town’s Christmas tree. “I could see fading in the canopy,” said local arborist Deborah Geisinger, adding that she got several calls from locals saying, “Something has got to be done to save the tree.” Read the rest of the story about Idyllwild's Living Christmas Tree

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