Wilton gets its new holiday tree

WILTON — When the lights are turned on at next Friday night’s Holiday Stroll, they will illuminate a new, beautiful lush Norway spruce that was delivered to the town green on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The tree is a gift to the town from First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice and her husband Paul Vanderslice.

The tree replaces a similar spruce that was failing and removed last week by a crew from Parks and Recreation.

The 20-foot tree was delivered by Hoffman Landscapes of Wilton on a flatbed truck from Hardscrabble Farms in Somers, N.Y. It was then placed on a Bobcat skid steer for a short trip to the town green where a hole some three to four feet deep and about the same in diameter had been hand dug by a Hoffman crew in the morning.

Part of what contributed to the previous tree’s decline, said Wilton Environmental Affairs Director Mike Conklin, who was overseeing the operation, was that it was shaded by large deciduous trees, including an oak, on the green.

Therefore, the new tree was planted a few feet closer to Old Ridgefield Road where it will have better sun exposure. A katsura tree, that was near the Town Green sign, was relocated to the Chess Park on River Road. The new site was selected after consultation with an electrician to ensure no wires or sewer pipes would be disturbed when the hole was dug.

Conklin said fall is the optimum time to plant the tree. If it had been planted in the spring or summer, it would have required continual watering. The fall weather will promote root growth, he said, so the tree will be in good shape for spring rains.

Brendan Begnal, Hoffman’s crew chief, estimated the tree weighs about a ton. It took a crew of eight men to guide the tree to its spot, refine the size of the hole, and get it to stand up straight.

Next week, a crew from Parks and Recreation will bring a cherry picker to put the lights on.