A big evergreen tree in Big Spring Park that is used as a Christmas tree during the Christmas lighting ceremony will have to come down.
The tree is located southwest of the flower clock in the park. It stands around 30 feet tall and has been there for around 30 years.
“I had noticed that the tree was turning brown during the course of the summer and was hoping that the tree was not dying,” said John Jordon, director of Neosho’s parks and recreation department. “I recently spoke with Jon Skinner and Nate Forbes with MDC (Missouri Department of Conservation) and both said that the tree was affected by the drought this summer. I would estimate that 80 percent of the tree has dried up as a result of the drought and will not recover.”
Skinner said in a letter, “The Norway spruce in Big Spring Park was a beautiful tree. It added winter grace to the park.
Unfortunately, a large portion of the tree branches are no longer alive. I am not certain why the tree defoliated. It may be drought stress, or a disease I did not notice when visiting the tree. Either way, the brown portion will not become green again. The green portion may or may not continue to live and grow. Most conifers, like this spruce, do not grow back once the buds at the ends of the branches are dead. The tree does not have the ability to create new buds along its branches.”
After looking at the tree and assessing it, Jordon said, “we decided that the best thing to do would be to cut it down.”
However, the tree will have one last “stand.”
“I have encouraged the City of Neosho Parks Department to decorate the tree for Christmas one last time, notify the public about its condition and plan on removing it after Christmas,” Skinner said. “This will allow time for people to enjoy the tree for what it was before it is gone.”
But after the tree is cut down, there are plans for some new life.
“We plan on planting something else there next year in place of that tree,” he said. “To restart perhaps another tradition of having a tree there in the park that resembles a Christmas tree.”