An iconic tree on the west side of the White House is down to its last days. The historic Jackson Magnolia tree, which has been standing in its place since the 1800s, is scheduled to be cut down later this week.
The tree, too damaged and decayed to remain, is the oldest on the White House grounds. The towering magnolia extends from the ground floor, past the front windows of the State Dining Room on the first floor and beyond the second-level executive residence.
President Andrew Jackson brought the tree, which is said to be planted for his wife, Rachel, who died shortly after the 1828 election, to the White House from Tennessee in the 1820s.
Time and weather have damaged the tree, and White house officials are worried it will fall when President Donald Trump’s helicopter takes off and lands on the south lawn.
Documents obtained by CNN from specialists at the United States National Arboretum said efforts to preserve the tree over several decades have failed, and it must be quickly removed.
“The overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised and the tree is completely dependent on the artificial support,” the documents read. “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.”
The final decision was made by first lady Melania Trump, a White House official told CNN.
Trump assessed the professional information and historical documents before making the decision to cut down and remove the tree.