The search for the perfect Christmas tree to showcase on the Governor’s Mansion lawn in Jefferson City is a task that begins in the summer. About one dozen trees were considered for the First Family’s lawn this year. Holly Dentner with the Missouri Conservation Department says there are certain requirements the tree must meet to be in the running. The tree must be a native species to Missouri – a Norway spruce, white pine or eastern red cedar.
“We tend to lean toward Norway spruces because those are the big full, bushy evergreens that are most typically a Christmas tree style – the conical shape,” she says. “And then we’re looking for one that is at least 35-40 feet tall because it’s got to take up some space on the mansion lawn and look like it’s been there forever and be fully branched.”
The 40-foot Christmas tree will be placed on the Governor’s mansion lawn today and remain there for the holiday season. This year’s Norway spruce was donated by Doris Baker of southeast Missouri’s Desloge. Holly Dentner says submissions come from all over the state from Missourians who want to have their tree seen by thousands at the mansion over the holiday time. “I had one semi-decent one a couple years ago from Cape Girardeau but that’s probably as far south as I’ve seen them,” says Dentner. “I haven’t seen any from southwest Missouri now that I think either – we haven’t had a big number. Most of them are north of the Missouri River strangely enough.”
The annual lighting of the mansion lawn tree will be this Friday at 6:00 p.m.