In an effort to save $9,000, Quincy city officials decided to use utility department employees to trim the holly trees on the Courthouse Square this year.
"I got several calls and people were upset. The Community Redevelopment Agency was trying to save money by going in-house. It's clear we will have to go outside the next time. This is one we learned from this mistake," said Jack McLean, city manager.
Helen Robinson, owner of Miss Helen's Expresso D'Art Cafe, said it is difficult for her to understand why the holly trees were trimmed weeks before Christmas when the berries and the greenery are the prettiest.
"I still can't believe it. I'm just sick about it. It looks like someone went to the barber shop and got a bad haircut. The tops are scooped out," she said.
McLean said he got several telephone calls from people who were upset about the tree trimming. The callers, he said, were very vocal. Some Quincy Garden Club members, who spend a lot of time planting flowers and tending to shrubbery, were also concerned, according to McLean.
George Weigel, horticulturalist, said holly trees should be pruned by cutting them back in late winter and early spring. The trees on the square are referred to as "teenagers" because of their age and irregular growth patterns, and some have open spaces much like growth patterns for teenage humans.
While city officials have learned from this mistake, McLean said it will be 2012 before the trees are filled in enough for another trimming.
"We won't make that mistake again," he said.
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