As ISA-Certified Arborists, we love trees year-round, but during the month of December, when Christmas trees start popping up around town, it seems like the community almost catches up with us.
Here are a few ways that trees have dominated Cumberland Valley Tree Service – Landscaping’s holiday season including:
- Erecting a 30’ tree in downtown Chambersburg,
- A CVTS-L employee’s private tree farm, and
- A giveaway featuring a Christmas tree with gift cards for ornaments
CVTS-L Helps to Bring Christmas Spirit to Downtown Chambersburg
On November 13, a 30-foot concolor fir tree was erected and decorated in Memorial Square in downtown Chambersburg. There are lots of pretty pictures and videos of the finished tree, but as tree care professionals, we’re interested in the behind-the-scenes work that made it possible.
The process is actually similar to a family visiting a choose-and-cut tree farm. The tree is selected, cut down, secured to the roof of a car and brought home where it is placed in a stand, decorated and watered. It’s just bigger.
We talked with Elwood Sord, Assistant Public Works Director of the Borough of Chambersburg, who explained some of the mechanics, teamwork and precision required to pull it off.
First, the tree was located and selected by the borough under the direction of Assistant Borough Manager, David Finch. According to this Public Opinion photo gallery, the tree was donated by the Lautenslager family on Leafmore Road, Hamilton Township. This is the second year the family has donated the tree.
“Cumberland Valley is always there, they cut the tree,” said Sord.
This year, CVTS-L’s Shane Peck and Logan Junkin were onsite to assist with the removal of the tree.
Next, a borough-owned crane was used to move the tree onto a trailer.
“The Highway Department then brings it into town along with a police escort,” Sord added.
Once it is in town, the crane is used again to lift the tree off of the trailer and place the tree in a specially prepared tree stand. Anyone who has ever struggled to get a six-foot Douglas fir into a tree stand in their living room can sympathize.
“We have a huge concrete planter that’s down there. It’s portable. We set the base of the tree down in the planter with the crane and then put stones all around the trunk of the tree as it’s in the planter,” said Sord.
Then, while the crane is still holding it, Junkin went up in a CVTS-L bucket truck to run four cables from about three quarters of the way up the tree down to steel pins that were driven into the pavement to secure the tree.
The Electric Department then stepped in to put the lights on it. CVTS-L also puts up half of the Christmas lights in downtown Chambersburg.
And, as with all live Christmas trees, it must be watered, and even that is done on a larger-than-life scale.
“We stop by with our [the borough’s] VAC truck, which has a water tank that puts water in it from time-to-time,” explained Sord.
CVTS-L has assisted with Chambersburg’s Christmas Tree for as long as we can remember, but this was Shane Peck’s first time helping out.
“It was a pretty good undertaking. It was more than I expected,” said Peck.
Here is a video from our Facebook page of a crane being used to place the Christmas tree in its planter in downtown Chambersburg.
At Ridgeline Tree Farm, Growing the Perfect Christmas Tree Requires Year-Round Effort
As a welder, mechanic and tree crew member with CVTS-L, Shane Peck doesn’t have a lot of free time, but, like with many CVTS-L employees, even his free time is spent in and around trees.
For 25 years, Peck’s 20-acre Ridgeline Tree Farm, 1216 Reunion Ground Road, McConnellsburg, PA, has offered Christmas spirit in the form of Douglas firs, concolor firs, blue spruces, and Scotch pines.
Christmas season is harvest season on a tree farm, and the work for next year begins as soon as this year winds down.
“After we’re done cutting trees (for the year), we’ll go back through and make sure the stumps are all cut real low so we don’t hit them with the mower in the summer,” said Peck.
Most customers leave stumps that are four or five inches high, which is just short enough to be hidden in tall grass but too tall to mow over.
“Then come spring, we’ll fertilize, March or April,” said Peck. “And we start spraying in May. There are several fungi that can affect the trees.”
The summer months require regular mowing – the more it rains, the more they mow.
“We start trimming in July, and we usually trim up until October,” he said.
He added: “There’s really more than just cutting the tree down at harvest time. There’s upkeep on the equipment – the mowers, the trimmers and the sprayers.”
Peck hopes to sell more than 600 trees this year to families that stop in and wholesale buyers.
CVTS-L keeps Peck busy through the week, so the farm is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
A CVTS-L Christmas Tree with Gift Cards for Ornaments!
Congratulations to Leslie Dah-Mott of Chambersburg! Leslie is the winner of our “Winter 10 Giveaway!”
For liking, sharing and commenting on our Facebook post, she was entered into our drawing to win a Christmas tree decorated with $10 gift cards (a total value of $115)!