O Tannenbaum

~Editor Sue

The planning for a real Christmas tree in downtown Victoria began some time ago.

In past years a large evergreen tree has been cut and hauled to Victoria where it was “planted” with the assistance of a crane, big ropes, and several hands.

Said Randy Miller, president of the Victoria Business Association, “Cutting a mature tree down to use for 30 days didn’t make sense to me.  I talked to Jerry Hartman who said he’s got a mature tree that we could have and I said let’s transplant it rather than cut it.”

Jerry Hartman, left, partner in Hartman Communities, Victoria, and his wife Anne live on a picturesque property which they are developing in San Francisco Township near Carver, about 10 miles south of Victoria.  They had a beautiful 22-foot Norway spruce to donate.  Jerry contacted his brother Jeff, on the right, who did all this without charge.

Jeff Hartman is the owner of Hartman Companies, which includes the Hartman Tree Farm, Residential and Commercial Landscaping, the Retail Garden Center, and Golf Course Construction and Renovation.

Jeff hired Joe Koberoski Tree Space Service of Mankato who used a truck mounted tree spade to dig a huge hole, with one big bite, in the new Bayfront Plaza in downtown Victoria on the Shores of Stieger Lake.  This happened at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, November 13th, 2015.

It was not a frivolous siting.  Most of the major power keeping the lights on in downtown Victoria goes through triple duty lines in this location.  A foot or two in the wrong direction could have been disastrous.  All utilities were marked and located before the hole was dug.

As Jeff explained, “We spent some time to locate the spot for the tree, which was approved by all agencies.  Then the utilities were marked and excavated to visually see them, so that the 90-inch in diameter by 4.5 feet deep tree spade would not interfere with the underground utilities that were only feet away from the proposed tree location.”

On hand for the planting at Bayfront Plaza in Victoria (l-r):  Seth Eggert and Shawn Ludwig (employees at Hartman Companies), Jeff Hartman (Hartman Companies), Jerry Hartman (partner with a third brother Terry at Hartman Communities), Randy Miller (President, Victoria Business Association),

Stated Jeff, “We weren’t asked to install a tree.  We all just thought it would be a good idea to have a permanent tree for the Christmas Tree Lighting, instead of every year dealing with finding a tree to cut down and having the city crew setting it in place year after year.”

“It really does save everyone involved, both time and money,” added Jeff, “and everyone gets to enjoy it.  That’s the real value of it.”

Just a few steps away from Victoria’s Official Christmas Tree is the new Charlson Thun Bandstand, just completed this fall.

The boulders will help provide for casual seating this summer at Concerts in the Park.

Ann Mahnke, Victoria Director of Parks and Public Works, stopped down to check progress.  Victoria Public Works used to cut a tree down each year for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting.  The tree was usually donated anonymously to the city.

After the hole was dug, the tree spade left Victoria and drove to Jerry’s place in Carver where the 22-foot Norway Spruce was prepared for digging up and moving to Victoria.  Jerry said the tree was one foot high when it was planted in 2002.

The truck arrived back in Victoria with the large tree a couple hours later, backed up to the deep hole, and slowly set it in place.

The Hartmans and the truck driver assured themselves and each other that the tree pointed straight up from all angles. 

Then the blades of the spade slowly opened like a  gate from around the tree.

After the truck moved forward a few feet, the blades were returned to their circular position and hoisted back onto the center of the truck bed.

Quite an amazing procedure.

The bottom half of the very wide evergreen had been wrapped in thick ropes to keep the branches from being damaged by the tree spade.

It was now 10:30 a.m., but not all the work was done.

Three responsible parties (l-r):  Jeff Hartman, Jerry Hartman, Randy Miller.

Said Jeff, “Once the tree was installed, we came back and heeled it in, filled the voids, watered, and then mulched around the base.”  Hartmans are also donating the tree lights.  Some people think that the tree has always been there.  Thank you, Hartmans and Randy Miller, for your continued generosities to the community.