A magnolia tree that stood at the White House for nearly two centuries must be trimmed for the safety of visitors and reporters who cover the president’s helicopter departures from the White House lawn, First Lady Melania Trump decided.
Melania Trump made the decision to “remove a portion of the magnolia tree” after reviewing reports from the National Arboretum and discussing it with her staff, White House spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“After reviewing the reports, the First Lady trusted that every effort had been made to preserve the historic tree, and was concerned about the safety of visitors.
“And also concerned about members of the press who were often standing right in front of the tree during Marine One lifts.”
She requested that the wood from the tree, which was several metres high, be preserved and seedlings be available if there was opportunity to plant a new magnolia tree in the same area.
Planted in 1835 when President Andrew Jackson was president of the U.S.,, the enormous magnolia tree stood by the south portico of the White House.
It provided shade for visiting dignitaries and its white flowers bloomed during 39 presidencies.
For decades, gardeners had attempted to hold up the tree with supports, which became compromised, as the tree’s trunk was too weak for any other intervention, the Washington Post reported.