The White House’s famous magnolia tree to be cut down

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The White House's famous magnolia tree to be cut down


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AFP

Image caption

The Jackson magnolia has sat on the White House lawn for almost two centuries

A historic tree at the White House is scheduled to be cut down and removed.

The “Jackson” magnolia has been in place since 1828, when it was planted by then-President Andrew Jackson as a tribute to his recently deceased wife.

According to a White House spokesperson, experts say the tree is beyond repair and poses a safety hazard.

Between 1928 and 1988, the iconic tree featured on the $20 note.

A spokesperson said that First Lady Melania Trump has requested that its seedlings be maintained so that a new tree can be planted in the same area.

She said Mrs Trump had taken the decision to remove the current tree as it posed a threat to “the safety of visitors and members of the press who are often standing right in front” of it when the presidential helicopter takes off.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

The tree can often be been seen when the presidential helicopter, Marine One, takes off from the White House

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The so-called Jackson magnolia originally came from a cutting from Mrs Rachel Jackson’s favourite magnolia tree on the couple’s Tennessee farm.

Its first problems began in the early 1970s when a section of its base was displaced and its exposed cavity was cemented. This was standard practice for the era, but some said it damaged the tree irrevocably.

In 1981, the cement was removed and replaced with a large pole and cable system to hold it up.

Although at first sight the tree appears normal, a report from the United States National Arboretum, quoted by CNN, said “the tree is greatly compromised” and “completely dependent on the artificial support”.



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