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Native Eastern Red Cedar chosen for Christmas tree on governor’s mansion lawn

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A 30-foot eastern red cedar will soon light up the front lawn of the governor’s mansion. Staff from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation delivered the tree Nov. 28. It will see the light of the Christmas season beginning Dec. 2 during a lighting ceremony.

A 30-foot native eastern red cedar will soon light up the front lawn of the governor’s mansion. Staff from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation delivered the tree Nov. 28. It will see the light of the Christmas season beginning Dec. 2 during a lighting ceremony.

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Thousands of people who see the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City during the holiday season will get to admire a 30-foot Christmas tree from Independence.

Finding the official Christmas tree for display in front of the governor’s mansion is a long-standing tradition for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Each year toward the end of the summer, MDC issues a statewide call for nominations in search of that special tree. Missourians are encouraged to send photos of prospective trees, all of which are reviewed by MDC Forestry staff.

“The tree selected for the mansion lawn is a 30-foot eastern red cedar donated by Bud Perrin of Independence,” said MDC Forestry Program Supervisor Holly Dentner. “His tree was one of 18 submissions we received this year.”

The tree was removed from Perrin’s yard by MDC crews on Nov. 22 and placed on the mansion lawn on Nov. 28. The official tree lighting ceremony will take place Dec. 2.

Missouri’s eastern red cedars often grow on glades, bluffs, rocky woods, pastures, and along roadsides and fencerows. They are the most common native conifer in the state.

“This eastern red cedar is a beautiful example of a tree that’s seen just about everywhere in Missouri,” said Dentner. “Perrin’s tree is likely one of many that will serve as Christmas trees this year.”

The selection criteria for the governor’s mansion Christmas tree include practical concerns such as how accessible the tree is for removal, its size, species, and appearance. MDC looks for trees that have to be removed anyway, for home expansion, utility work or space limitations. In this instance, Perrin’s tree had become too large for the backyard, and it was going to be removed this fall.

MDC also provided the governor’s mansion with seven white pine trees to be placed throughout the mansion. The white pines came from Pea Ridge Forest, a Christmas tree farm and wholesale nursery near Hermann.

For more information about how to care for Christmas trees visit http://on.mo.gov/2gGWX1l.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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