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Holidays are gone, but this tree lives on (with audio)

BRADENTON

Christmas has come and gone, but a Christmas tree still stands inside the cozy little home on 46th Street West.

It’s still growing, too.

“I don’t have the heart to take it down,” Rob Talitsch said of the spruce bought in Oneco.

Girlfriend Pat Johnson has changed her tune, too.

“Every weekend would roll around and I’d say, ‘Maybe we should take the tree down …,’” she said. “So it is still up, it is still lit and it is still beautiful.”

Talitsch reached over and showed off a branch tip.

It had new green needles and a brown bud.

More limbs were just like it, three to four inches long.

“I’m not using any fertilizer or any other stuff,” he said. “It must be the water. It’s still drinking it up.”

Turns out the first tree they got together bloomed late. The second one, too.

“Does this happen often?” Talitsch wondered.

Rick Dungey has the answer.

He’s with the National Christmas Tree Association in Chesterfield, Mo., which represents and promotes real Christmas tree professionals.

“It’s not all that unusual,” Dungey said. “It’s probably from Plains states or one of the Great Lakes states. It’s been dormant and when they bring the tree inside a home it gets a lot of light and they start coming out of their dormancy stage. Nutrients are still in the existing plant and allow it to produce new plant tissue.”

Not forever, though.

“After being separated from its root system the tree is going to start decomposing,” Dungey said. “Typically, a Christmas tree lasts four to five weeks. Anything over five? Wow! That’s doing pretty good.”

Ward Reasoner, president of Reasoner & Sons Landscaping, which has been in the nursery business in Manatee County since 1881, agreed.

“The man’s got a very green thumb,” he said. “Hey, with the bad economy maybe this tree is giving us hope.”

That’s how Johnson sees it.

“The first tree we had when we first met, I went, ‘Oh, wow, it’s blooming.’ And love was blooming,” she said. “Now it’s 10 years later. It was a rough Christmas. I’ve got a sister-in-law who’s sick. I lost a friend to cancer. To me this is like a hope tree. After all these years, it’s starting to bloom again.”

They kept that first tree until Valentines Day.

So it sounds like this Christmas tree is good for two more weeks at least.

“We can shoot for Valentine’s Day again,” Talitsch said.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.

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