The oldest tree on the White House grounds, dating back to the 1800s, is set to be cut down and removed. CNN reports that the Jackson Magnolia tree has been deemed too damaged and decayed to remain. It currently stands on the south facade of the White House in front of the State Dining Room’s windows.
Documents from the United States National Arboretum obtained by CNN read:
"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."
After approving the removal of the tree, First Lady Melania Trump has requested that the wood be preserved. In the tree’s place, another Jackson Magnolia will be planted, born from the original.
According to CNN, the tree was planted in 1828 following President Andrew Jackson’s inauguration. The species of tree was chosen due to it being Jackson’s late wife’s favorite magnolia tree from the couple's farm, Hermitage, in Tennessee. At one point, from 1928 to 1998, the tree was featured on the back of the $20 bill. The tree also inspired Laura Bush’s White House china set, which was painted with magnolia leaves and blossoms.