Posted by Barbara Beagle on Apr 19, 2021
Since 1954, the 128 foot Douglas fir known as the Silverdale Christmas Tree has been lit up every year, but old age, wooly adelgid insect infestation, and drought have all conspired to weaken the massive 140-150 year old tree such that 4 years ago there was only an estimated 50/50 chance that it would survive.  Now, thanks to the community efforts of Silverdale Rotarians, Silverdale Dandy Lions, and other volunteer individuals and businesses, things are now more optimistic.  After years of annual blackberry chopping and bark mulching, plus arborist treatments, and four years of watering in the summer, the tree is now producing new growth! 
 
Most recently in April 2021, the Silverdale Rotary Club funded the evaluation and treatment by arborist Dan Maple of ABC Consulting Arborists (photo on left).  He treated the tree with growth hormone and insect treatment injected into the ground around the tree. He also sprayed an insect treatment onto the trunk to combat the wooly adelgid infestation.
 
His evaluation of the tree was that the top of the tree looked really good with new growth, that we have definitely turned the corner with the tree, and it is getting better.  Due to the size (approximately 128 ft tall) and age of the tree, it will take a long time to see the total results.  The upper middle third is still looking pretty bare, but he thinks that it just needs more time to recover.  The top and bottom are looking good.
 
During the summer dry period the tree will be watered, and later this year the area around the tree will be “weed wacked” and mulched with yards and yards of bark.  Maintenance of the light strings and replacements of bulbs will happen this fall, getting ready for the annual Thanksgiving weekend tree lighting. 
 
This all takes a “village” of volunteers, but the results can be seen from just about anywhere in Silverdale when the tree is lit!