Berlin Still Weighing Change To Plant Own Tree

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BERLIN — Though the idea of a living Christmas tree that could be planted in Berlin received a good deal of attention last year in the hopes that it could happen in 2012, Berlin decided once again to go with the more traditional practice of a cut tree.

However, Community and Economic Development Director Michael Day explained that planting a live tree in Berlin is still on the table in the future as is the possibility of converting to an artificial tree.

This year’s tree, a cedar that Day estimated at about 14 feet, is currently featured in front of the Atlantic Hotel and shares its birthplace with last year’s specimen — Nichols Farm in Hebron.

“That’s where [the trees] have come from for the past couple years,” said Day. “It’s a pretty phenomenal place.”

Like last year’s tree, the current cedar only cost the town $25, which Day explained is the flat rate for anyone who wants to chop down a tree from Nichols.

At an estimated 14 feet, this year’s tree has drawn a few jokes about being undersized. However, much like eggnog and caroling, ribbing on the height of the tree seems to be a holiday tradition at this point, according to Day.

“There are always some complaints that it’s not big enough,” he said.

The discussion on whether to use a living tree or an artificial tree is expected to continue in regards to next year.

“Grow Berlin Green (GBG) is sort of talking about getting a live tree … Last year the big push was to put in a live tree. To dig a hole and plant a tree,” said Day.

It should be noted that plans to replace the usual cut tree with a living tree and plans to feature both a cut and living tree in town were considered.

Likewise, Day confirmed that Berlin continues to debate purchasing an artificial tree that could be re-used every Christmas and stored for the rest of the year. While that solution would save Berlin a small yearly expense and some transportation effort, Day also noted that the upfront cost of a large artificial tree could be upwards of $1,500 and that storage would also need to be found.

For the time being, Day said he has no problem with continuing the town’s tradition of visiting the Nichols Farm for a cheap, healthy tree every year. The farm is especially appealing for those concerned with sustainability. Last year, Assateague Coastal Trust Development Director Steve Farr explained that Nichols replants one or more trees for every one cut down and uses both solar and wind power on site.

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