The Jackson Magnolia that’s been in place behind the White House since the 1800s will be cut down, according to a report.
The historic magnolia extends from the ground floor of the White House and past the second-level executive residence. But first lady Melania Trump decided the tree should be removed after reviewing historical documents and professional information that indicated its structure is “greatly compromised,” a White House official told CNN.
Specialists with the U.S. National Arboretum assessed the tree, which will be cut down later this week.
“The overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised and the tree is completely dependent on the artificial support,” documents obtained by the cable news outlet 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 historic tree was planted after Andrew Jackson’s inauguration in 1829. Jackson’s wife, Rachel, died after he was elected in 1828, and according to CNN, the former president wanted to plant a sprout from his wife’s favorite magnolia tree from their farm in Tennessee.
The tree has since been a staple of the White House and was featured on the back of the $20 bill from 1928 to 1998. Former first lady Laura Bush commissioned White House china, called “The Magnolia Residence China,” based on the tree.
Former first lady Michelle Obama took a seedling from the iconic tree in 2009 and brought it to the Department of Agriculture, where it could grow at the agency’s garden, and former President Barack Obama gifted a seedling from the tree to the people of Cuba in 2016.
Though the tree will be removed, another Jackson Magnolia will reportedly be planted there.