First Lady Melania Trump has made the call to remove the oldest tree on the White House property, according to a CNN report. But it’s not as sinister as it sounds.
The large magnolia tree has been decaying for decades. Arborists from the National Arboretum were called to the White House to assess the tree and their report indicates the tree needs to come down and soon.
“The overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised and the tree is completely dependent on the artificial support. Without the extensive cabling system, the tree would have fallen years ago. Presently, and very concerning, the cabling system is failing on the east trunk, as a cable has pulled through the very thin layer of wood that remains. It is difficult to predict when and how many more will fail.”
Based on their advice, the First Lady approved the cutting down and removal of the tree after being assured every avenue had been exhausted to preserve it.
The “Jackson Magnolia,” according to historians, was planted on the south side of the White House in honor of President Andrew Jackson’s wife, Rachel, who died days after the brutal 1828 election. Jackson allegedly believed the campaign contributed to Rachel’s demise.
For seventy years, from 1928 to 1998, the Andrew Jackson Magnolia was prominently featured on the back of the $20 bill. There is also a set of White House china, commissioned by Laura Bush, painted with the magnolia leaves and blossoms, called “The Magnolia Residence China.”
While it’s sad o see the 200-year-old magnolia go, there’s good news. Offshoots from the Jackson Magnolia, preserved by White House groundskeepers, will replace its parent tree to begin renewed life for the tree on the White House property.