Arborist Steve Murch has 11 years experience choosing Christmas trees for the city of Lewiston, looking for those that look nice, are easily accessible and the right size for Courthouse Plaza on Lisbon Street.

For the past two years, the Turner man and his daughter Kassie, 9, have been a team when it comes to getting the green centerpiece.

“Most of the time it is a spruce, white or blue,” Steve said. They are nice and full
without a lot of maintenance and pruning.”

Kassie takes part of the day to go with her father to get the tree, which is selected from a list of donors. Finding the tree is the easy part, Steve said, compared to transporting
and setting it up.

“After it is cut and placed on a flatbed trailer,
the tree is covered with a tarp, branches are tied down and the trip
begins with a watchful eye to the transmission lines and hoping not to hit anything along the way,” he said.

He recalled the first year he was involved with getting the
city’s tree. The plan of exactly how the crew was going to stabilize the tree was still not certain. 

“I was out hunting. I had visited Portland to see how they did it and thought about how we could build a stand and tie the tree to a building,” he said.

He went to work the next day and had a brainstorming session with
his crew and together, they came up with the protocol that is now used. Usually they begin at 8 a.m. and have it up by 1 p.m. The decorating crew usually takes two days to string the LED lights.

For many, seeing the city’s tree all lit up inspires lots of memories of one’s childhood. Steve recalls that his parents always had an artificial tree because they had a wood stove in the living room. One year they put up a real little white pine tree in his room as his own Christmas tree.

“It was a real Charlie Brown tree. I was pretty impressed that Santa left a gift for me under that tree and that he knew whose tree it was,” he said. 

For his own family, Steve and his daughter Kassie collaborate on the selection, shopping on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as part of the tradition. 

“We usually buy a tree because I like to get the biggest I can for the living room. I like it to be the tallest and widest. The whole family likes it and we really enjoy getting the tree.”

“Yeah, you don’t want it to be a peanut. You want it to stand out when someone looks in the window,” she said.

“Fresh trees last longer. The trick in getting a tree from a lot is to cut the bottom off so that the tree can take up water so it won’t dry out,” Steve said. “This year we will probably cut one,” he said. 

The Murch family tree will be full of hand-me-down ornaments from Murch’s mother, things the children have made, and lots and lots of colored lights and icicles.

“Yeah, we put and we put and we put until we cannot see any green,” Kassie said.

Lewiston city arborist Steve Murch of Turner and his daughter Kassie, 9, scout out their property for the perfect Christmas tree.

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