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Park Service to plant new National Christmas Tree

Friday - 10/26/2012, 2:58pm  ET

AP: 32dc71eb-38dc-44aa-abec-34503867ddc6
FILE - This Dec. 1, 2011 file photo shows the National Christmas Tree after it was lit by President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia and Sasha Obama on the Ellipse across from the White House in Washington. The National Park Service is opening a lottery for free tickets to attend this year's National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington. This year's lighting is scheduled for Dec. 6. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service says a new National Christmas Tree will be planted on the Ellipse near the White House this weekend.

The planting is scheduled for Saturday before Hurricane Sandy is expected to strike the Mid-Atlantic region. A 28-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce is being transported to Washington from a site in Virginia.

The new tree will replace one that died after a year from transplant shock. The previous tree replaced one that stood on the Ellipse since 1978 but was destroyed by high winds in February 2011.

Workers removed the last tree in May. They planned at the time to plant a new tree in October _ just in time to be decorated for the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony.

WTOP's Garden Editor Mike McGrath says the National Park Service should think about delaying the planting until the storm has passed - and the ground is drier.

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