The White House Is Cutting Down the Jackson Magnolia

white house
Image via Dan Thornberg / EyeEm / Getty

A tree that was planted in the 1800s on the west side of the White House is coming down, according to CNN. The tree, called the Jackson Magnolia, has become too damaged to remain upright—and, without the support it currently has, would eventually topple over on its own.

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President Andrew Jackson planted the tree shortly after he won the presidency as a tribute to his wife Rachel, who died just days after his election. The tree was transported to the White House grounds from his home in Tennessee. It’s currently being held up by cables, but part of this support system has begun to fail. Some of the cables have started to slice through the weak wood remaining on the tree.

The Jackson Magnolia on the West Side of the White House
The Jackson Magnolia, whose exposed trunk you can see at left, in late 2006. James W. Rosenthal/National Park Service

First lady Melania Trump made the final decision to take the tree down, after she conferred with specialists at the United States National Arboretum. Their report says the tree would have been cut years ago had it not been for its historic significance. And to preserve its history, a new Jackson Magnolia, born from the original, will be planted in its place once the current tree has been removed.

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