Historic tree on the White House South Lawn is coming down

A magnolia tree at the White House dating back to the 1800s will have to be cut down.

The historic Jackson Magnolia is in such a state of decay that it’s been deemed too dangerous to remain in place, according to CNN. A series of artificial supports has kept the South Lawn tree in place for years. But the decay has reached the point where it’s time for the tree to come down.

The tree appears normal from the front, but looking at it from behind shows the tree is almost hollow.

“We understand this is a historic tree, and all measures have been used to save it to this point in time,” according to the report. “While we cannot comment on the need to preserve the tree as long as it stands, we believe eventually, the tree will fail.”

The magnolia tree’s history

Andrew Jackson originally planted saplings from his farm, Hermitage, at the White House as a tribute to his wife, Rachel, who died not long after his election.

White House Tree

The $20 bill with the Jackson Magnolia on the back

The tree featured prominently in the design on the back of the $20 bill from 1928 to 1998.

More recently, seedlings from the tree have been gifted and planted elsewhere, from the United States Department of Agriculture’s community garden to Cuba.

The tree’s future

CNN reports that White House groundskeepers have been preparing for the eventual loss of the tree. Healthy offshoots of the tree have been growing off site with plans to put another Jackson Magnolia in its place.

More on White House trees

Scroll down to page 142 for a map of commorative trees at the White House. It lists the tree with the year and planting president.

More on tree care

Make sure to check out more of Doug Oster’s tree care tips at everybodygardens.com