There’s been many fake and temporary Christmas trees placed at the Kosciusko County courthouse for community events over the years, but things have changed this year.
A permanent concolor fir was planted Tuesday on the southeast lawn of the courthouse square.
Scott Wiley, Main Street Warsaw member relations manager, explained, “We’ve been wanting to have a pine tree planted on the courthouse lawn for a long time that could be dual purpose - it can be used all year round, be beautiful and it can serve as our official downtown Christmas tree. Because over the years we’ve planted trees, we’ve had LED trees, we’ve had all different kinds of combinations, but hopefully this will be a tradition for like 40 years to come.”
Main Street Warsaw received permission from the county to plant the tree.
He said the concolor fir is “kind of a hybrid fir tree. It’s kind of got a blueish tint to it and it’s supposed to smell like oranges. It’s supposed to be really disease resistant.”
The tree is about 15 feet tall now. Wiley said hopefully it will grow to about 40 feet.
Main Street Warsaw donated the tree to the county, who will take care of it like it does all of the other trees on county property, he said.
“We asked the county where they would like it and we wanted it close to the plaza because that’s where most of the First Friday, downtown events are. It’s very visible and, also, this is a place that didn’t have any underground gas lines or power lines or anything,” Wiley said.
Jordan Haarer, sales manager for Dogwood Hills Tree Farm, plants the concolor fir tree in the southeast lawn of the Kosciusko County courthouse Tuesday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Electricity can be ran to the tree as needed.
County Commissioner Cary Groninger said, “It’s one of those things that Kosciusko County, whether you’re in the city or you’re in the county, or you live outside, we’re all part of Kosciusko County. I just think it’s a really nice event to have a Christmas tree on the courthouse lawn, pretty much at the center of our county, the center of Warsaw where we all can join around the Christmas tree and celebrate the birth of Christ.”
He said it could also potentially be decorated for other holidays and purposes as well.
“Obviously, it’s going to be something that we’ll have to take a look at, and I think each event or each opportunity will be looked at by the commissioners on whether or not they feel that fits with the theme the commissioners want to have on the courthouse lawn. But at the same token, it’s about having that opportunity on the courthouse lawn,” Groninger said.
Wiley said the tree will be decorated by and lit on Dec. 1 for the city’s Light Up the Night annual festivities. He estimated the lighting to take place at about 6:30 p.m.
Wiley said, “Main Street Warsaw is all about making downtown Warsaw a better place for people to live, work and play!”
Dogwood Hills Tree Farm, Middlebury, delivered and planted the fir with their truck spade - a 65-inch spade mounted on the back of a truck. Wiley said Jonathan Cosby, of Cosby Tree Service, Warsaw, recommended them.
Jordan Haarer, sales manager for Dogwood Hills Tree Farm, said they are a nursery that offers about 225 different species of trees and has about 20,000 trees in their nurseries.
“That’s our biggest thing. We also offer tree trimming and tree removal service as well,” he said. “Whatever you need tree related, we can help you out with.”
Dogwood Hills started in 1996, Haarer stated. They move a lot of fir trees around Christmas time because people want live Christmas trees. Haarer said they sometimes will ball and burlap a small fir tree for people and take it in their house for them to decorate. After Christmas, if there’s a thaw in the ground, the homeowner will then plant the fir outside.
The tree planted at the courthouse has been at Dogwood Hills’ nursery for at least 10 years or more. It will grow to 40-50 feet, he stated, and firs are very slow growers.
The website for Dogwood Hills Tree Farm can be found at dogwoodhillstreefarm.com. All the contact information can be found there.
“We appreciate the town of Warsaw for having us out here,” he said, adding that they’ve planted trees at Central Park as well. “We did a planting last fall and a planting this fall. So, all the arborvitae behind McDonald’s there, we did that. Right around the fountain there’s some new trees, we did that. And then, on the west side of the park, we did another row of arborvitae.”
He said Warsaw Parks Maintenance Director Shaun Gardner has been great to work with.