A couple weeks after city workers installed a new clock at the corner of Main Street and Madison Avenue, Greenwood’s Christmas tree appears to be dying.
“It’s not looking good,” said Rob Taggart, Greenwood Parks director and a landscape architect. “It’s an important tree and we’re gong to do what we can to save it.”
The 60-foot-tall blue spruce has served as the city’s Christmas tree for decades. The Greenwood-a-Glow tree lighting ceremony is an annual tradition that draws hundreds to downtown Greenwood each year.
There’s no telling if the installation of the new clock caused the tree’s recent decline, Taggart said.
The clock, a donation from the estate of longtime Greenwood resident Geraldine Bagby, was installed during the week of July 7. Today, the side of the tree that faces the clock is covered with a wide swath of brown needles.
Workers had to cut away part of the nearby curb to expand a planting bed to accommodate the new clock, Taggart said. That work might have damaged the roots, but Taggart said other factors may have contributed to the tree’s sudden decline.
“It could be the weather conditions, we’ve had a severe drought,” Taggart said.
The tree is in a grassy area surrounded by pavement and concrete. That’s not an ideal situation for an evergreen, said Johnson County Purdue Extension Educator Sarah Hanson.
“The roots are probably struggling,” Hanson said. “If they (work crews) cut a root or something, that definitely is not going to help.”
But don’t be too quick to blame the clock, Hanson said, noting that damage could just as likely be the result of disease or insects.
John Michael Jones, president of Restore Old Town Greenwood, said he was first concerned with the tree’s health during the Nov. 23 tree-lighting ceremony.
“It had a lot of brown branches,” Jones said. “It didn’t look bad, it just wasn’t healthy.”
Recently, Jones said he noticed the tree’s health has continued to slide.
“That tree has a lot of sentimental value,” Jones said. “If it does have to come down a lot of people are going to be upset.”
Call Star reporter Vic Ryckaert at (317) 444-2701. Follow him on Twitter: @VicRyc.
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