White House magnolia tree to be cut back after 182 years

White House magnolia tree to be cut back after 182 yearsIt has survived 39 presidencies and being clipped by a light aircraft, but the ravages of time have proved too much for the massive magnolia tree which was planted at the White House in 1835. The rotting tree has become a safety risk and, taking the advice of the National Arboretum, First Lady Melania Trump has accepted that much of the tree will have to go. The tree, which was planted by Andrew Jackson, has been a backdrop for some of the most momentous events in US presidential history. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill held talks in the shade of the tree's massive branches. Herbert Hoover presided over cabinet meetings there and Richard Nixon strode past it as he made his way to a helicopter after he left the White House in disgrace. Andrew Jackson Credit: Hulton Archive The magnolia even featured on the back of a $ 20 banknote. In September 1994 a small Cessna aircraft was flown into the tree. While the magnolia lost its largest limb, the White House itself was spared significant damage. As a gesture of goodwill, Barack Obama donated a seedling from the tree to the people of Cuba. The writing had been on the wall for the magnolia – the oldest tree in the White House grounds – for decades, with significant repair work carried out as far back as the 1940s. Workers cut branches from the magnolia tree planted by President Andrew Jackson Credit: Joshua Roberts/Reuters Despite these efforts, according to the National Park Service, the entire north-west portion of the tree has completely decayed, as has much of the magnolia's interior. Since the 1980s the tree has been held up by a combination of a pole and guy wires. Following a study, it was concluded that drastic tree surgery was the only option. "After reviewing the reports, she trusted that every effort had been made to preserve the historic tree, and was concerned about the safety of visitors and members of the press who are often standing right in front of the tree during Marine One lifts," said Stephanie Grisham, Mrs Trump's spokesman. At the First Lady's request wood from the tree will be preserved, as will seedlings to facilitate the planting of a new magnolia. Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who grew up in the White House during Bill Clinton's two terms in office, tweeted her thanks late Tuesday to the horticulturists and National Park Service attendants who take care of the White House grounds. The White House is part of a national park. "Thank you @FLOTUS for preserving part of a tree I & so many have treasured," Ms Clinton tweeted to Mrs┬áTrump, using an acronym for "first lady of the United States."



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines