D.C.’s soggy weather of late has taken its toll on the grounds of the Washington Monument. The National Park Service, which manages the National Mall, says a mulberry tree that “predates the dedication of the Washington Monument” came crashing down this past weekend because of soil saturation. The monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885.
The saturated ground caused this mulberry tree which predates the dedication of the Washington Monument to topple over the weekend. Our tree crew is currently weighing options to allow us to save the tree. pic.twitter.com/J1yUEFlary— National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) May 14, 2019
The Park Service says it’s working to try to save the tree. One person proposes a hologram:
I suggest a hologram (in memory of a real tree). https://t.co/rP53Ii6LIg— Rob Zerwekh (@zerwekh) May 14, 2019
Please try to save it! It's beautiful. This is so sad.— Kim Fisher (@KimFisherDC) May 14, 2019
According to the Post’s Capital Weather Gang, D.C. has seen more than 71 inches of rain and snowmelt in the past year, “the wettest 365-day period in Washington since record-keeping began in 1871.” That’s more than the 66.28 inches of rain/snowmelt recorded in all of 2018.
Meanwhile, the monument itself remains closed to the public while elevator repairs and the construction of a new screening booth are completed. It’s scheduled to reopen this August.
Update, 3 p.m.: In a video posted on Twitter by the Park Service, arborist Jason Gillis says recent rain led to a “compromised root system” for the toppled tree. He adds that officials are aiming to preserve the tree within the landscape by doing a “partial raze,” among other work.