TAKOMA PARK, MD – As residents plan a visit to the volunteer fire department’s annual Christmas tree lot, they should be aware of a new rule put in place by the City Arborist that requires residents to set up and decorate at least six Christmas trees for each one purchased within the city limits.
“We know the rule may be very unpopular, but it’s important that we think about tree protection from a more comprehensive perspective,” said the City Arborist. “Once a tree has been harvested from an out of town tree farm and is being propped up in a tree stand inside your home, it immediately becomes part of our urban forest and given inalienable rights.”
The new law has made an immediate impact on Christmas tree lots. The Takoma Park Fire Department announced Thursday that they had to temporarily close their lot for a few days until they could obtain more trees to keep up with demand. Bidding wars have been reported at the annual fundraiser, with some trees selling way beyond their listed sales prices.
“It’s absolutely insane,” said Gail Miller. “I live in a two bedroom apartment and there’s just no way to fit seven Christmas trees inside. I think I’ll just tell my kids we are converting to another religion.”
Before purchasing trees, permits must also be obtained from the city. To receive one, residents must submit architectural floor plans of their home showing the exact locations of each Christmas tree. Additional regulations will be enforced, such as laying down six inches of wood chip mulch around the base of trees to avoid the impact of heavy presents and making sure ornaments meet criteria listed in the tree ordinance.
“People believe we are being unreasonable, but our main objective is to help homeowners avoid fines from disobeying our arbitrary demands,” said the Arborist. “For example, if a resident fails to comply after a citation, they can expect to see a $500 fine or up to life in prison. They’re lucky Takoma Park is against the death penalty.”