Melania Trump Orders Removal Of Iconic 200-Year-Old White House Tree
First Lady Melania Trump has ordered the removal of the historic Jackson Magnolia, a tree that Andrew Jackson planted at the White House in 1828.
The historic tree planted in the 1800s at the south facade of the White House will be cut down later this week after Melania Trump reportedly made the decision to have it removed, CNN reports.
The decision came after tree specialists determined “the overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised,” according to CNN.
The network obtained documents from specialists at the United States National Arboretum, which determined the magnolia tree is “completely dependent on artificial support,” the document read.
The document said: “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.”
Documentation reviewed by CNN revealed the Jackson Magnolia has had apparent damage as far as 50 years, when three ‘leaders’, or trunks, emerged from its base creating a mess of tangles.
Around 1970, one of the leaders broke off from the main trunk and was removed, but it left the tree vulnerable to decay. The hole was filled with cement, a move that ended up doing irreversible damage to the tree. By 1981, a large pole and cable system were installed and hold up the tree today.
The document also noted that “the high winds resulting from frequent helicopter landings complicates the future of the [west limb],” saying that it “may fail in an unpredictable way.”
“We understand this is a historic tree, and all measures have been used to save it to this point in time. While we cannot comment on the need to preserve the tree as long as it stands, we believe eventually, the tree will fail.”
The history of the tree stretches as far back as former President Andrew Jackson—who brought the tree from his farm, Hermitage, in Tennessee, according to CNN. Jackson’s wife, Rachel, died days after the 1928 presidential election. Following his inauguration, it is believed that Jackson wanted the magnolia tree planted in honor of his wife’s death.
The official Jackson Magnolia has appeared in the background for numerous historical events, and was featured on the $20 bill from 1928 to 1998.
Laura Bush commissioned a set of White House china inspired by the tree, called ‘The Magnolia Residence China.’
In 2016 Michelle Obama gave a seedling from the tree as a gift to the people of Cuba.