Capitol seeking holiday tree

September 18, 2016 GMT

Lincoln – Begun as a way to honor and support those stationed at the Lincoln Air Base following World War II, the Pinewood Bowl Committee, Inc. hosts a holiday tree lighting and carol sing in the second floor rotunda of the Nebraska State Capitol the second Sunday in December.

Each year the Office of the Capitol Commission and the State Building Division seek the donation of an official state holiday tree. Tree donors are recognized at the Rotunda Tree Lighting Ceremony and may receive a tax deduction for the donation.

Horticulturalist Supervisor Craig Kreiner is asking Nebraskans within a 50-70 mile radius of Lincoln to consider donating a tree for use in the Capitol. Kreiner is seeking a very specific tree for the rotunda.

First and foremost, the Blue Spruce, Douglas or Concolor Fir tree must fit through the 7-foot-by-6-foot north entrance doors of the Capitol, while still being large enough to command attention in the rotunda.

The ideal tree would be 20 to 25 feet tall with a maximum girth of 15 feet, depending on thickness and size of branches. A taller tree will be considered and cut to size.

Kreiner and his staff will travel to look at a tree under consideration for donation and sometimes need to look at 10 trees to find the right one. Usually there are complication factors which make a tree unsuitable.

These factors include:

Accessibility: Can the grounds crew to it and safely cut it down? Are there hazards such as power lines, fences or other trees nearby?

Appearance: The tree will be viewed from at least three sides. A small defect in structure could be turned to the wall, but the tree should have traditional form.

Health: Will the tree hold needles for three weeks and not bring insect pests into the Capitol?

A tree considered for donation usually has outgrown its space or may be in the way of construction or landscaping projects.

To have a tree considered for use as the Official State Holiday Tree should contact Craig Kreiner at 402-471-0432 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. and leave a message if necessary. Photos of a tree to be considered may be sent to craig.kreiner@nebraska.gov with contact information.