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Carroll tree to decorate state capitol

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Nearly 30 years after it first decorated a Carroll home at Christmas, a 50-foot spruce is headed to Richmond to grace the capitol building

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

AUSTINVILLE — Virginia Department of Forestry workers harvested the Virginia Capitol’s Christmas tree off Coulson Church Road on Monday, which means it will be the second time this Colorado blue spruce will take a holiday turn.
The tree’s donors let the foresters know this tree helped a family celebrate the holiday in a past Christmas.
“It was a ball and burlap Christmas tree that was used in the house, and after they used it in the house they planted it in the yard,” forester Brad Carico recalled. “Now, it’s going to the capitol for the masses to enjoy.”

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After a few final chainsaw cuts and a gentle push by Carico, the 50-foot tree fell south-southeast, directly onto a tarp laid out on the ground.
Then the foresters consulted on its age and when it likely served as a Christmas tree the first time.
According to the tree rings, the foresters believe the tree sprouted around 1977 and  probably decorated the home for the 1984 Christmas season.
J.E. and Dorothy Bolt, who live in Willis and rent this Carroll property out, donated the spruce to decorate the capitol in Richmond, not far from where a tree from a Grayson County farm stands at the Governor’s Mansion, Carico explained.
Another Grayson farm provided wreaths this year, too.
State officials usually get the Christmas trees from areas of Virginia known for  commercial quality forestry products.
Knowing that this year’s tree would come from the Southwest Virginia, Carico and Chad Austin kept an eye out for an example with suitable appearance and height.
The two foresters spotted the spruce from the road near Interstate 77’s Exit 19.
“We thought it would be a candidate,” Carico said.
Loading the tree onto the trailer was made considerably easier by the Virginia Department of Transportation letting employee Barry Vaughn boost it up with a lift.
The tree was expected to arrive in Richmond on Tuesday and be installed on the porch a mere hour after getting there, according to Chris Sullivan, the senior area forester.
Donors generally get an invitation to the tree lighting.

The Virginia Department of Forestry offers a selection of tree seedlings. For more information, go to dof.virginia.gov.