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Park Service removes National Christmas Tree near White House after it develops fungal disease

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service says it will plant a new National Christmas Tree near the White House on the Ellipse in Presidents Park after the old tree developed a fungal disease and was removed Saturday morning.

The new tree will be planted in the fall ahead of the 99th National Christmas Tree Lighting, the park agency said in a news release.

The federal government has had a living National Christmas Tree, which can be viewed year-round by the public, on the Ellipse since 1973.

The tree that was removed Saturday was a 30-foot Colorado blue spruce from Palmyra, Pa., that was planted in 2019 with the help of a crane. Officials said the tree developed needle cast, a fungal disease that causes spruce tree needles to turn brown and fall off.

Before that, officials planted a Colorado blue spruce from Virginia in Oct. 2012.

That tree sustained damaged during a 2014 windstorm and then again in 2018 when someone attempted to climb it.


The National Park Service has said that October is an ideal time to plant the tree, though there is still the risk of "transplant shock." The park service did not say where it would get the new tree from.

Published : May 02, 2021

By : The Washington Post · Perry Stein