National Christmas Tree has died near White House

People gather around the National Christmas Tree after People gather around the National Christmas Tree after it was was lit during its lighting ceremony at the Ellipse, south of the White House, in Washington, D.C. (Dec. 1, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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WASHINGTON - Federal officials say the National Christmas Tree planted near the White House a year ago has died and is being removed.

The National Park Service says the Colorado blue spruce died of transplant shock. It came from a tree farm in New Jersey last year and was planted on the Ellipse just south of the White House in March 2011.

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The tree replaced a tree that had stood on the Ellipse since 1978 but was destroyed by high winds in February 2011.

Workers are removing the dead tree Saturday. The National Park Service says it has already identified a Colorado blue spruce to replace the tree and will plant the new National Christmas Tree in October, just in time to be decorated for the holiday.

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