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A famed Magnolia tree planted on the south grounds of the White House in Washington by President Andrew Jackson Andrew Harnik

200-year-old White House magnolia tree cut back after Melania Trump gave go ahead

The tree, which President Andrew Jackson added to the south grounds in 1835, was cut back for safety reasons.

A DIFFERENT KIND of tree-trimming took place at the White House yesterday when part of a historic magnolia on the south grounds was shorn off because it had become a safety risk, a spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump said.

The nearly 200-year-old tree was cut back while President Donald Trump and his family are in Florida for the holidays.

Melania Trump had given her OK for a large portion of the tree to be removed after she reviewed reports about the magnolia’s condition prepared by government experts and explored options with White House staff.

She was concerned for the safety of visitors and journalists who often stand in front of the tree during certain events, spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump Stephanie Grisham said.

The first lady has asked that wood from the tree be preserved, and that seedlings be available if an opportunity arises to plant a new tree.

President Andrew Jackson added the magnolia to the south grounds in 1835, according to the White House Historical Association. It stands on the west side of the South Portico, rising almost as tall as the White House itself, and is one of two magnolias flanking the south entrance.

White House Magnolia Tree Members of the White House staff inspect the trimming of the famed Magnolia tree Andrew Harnik Andrew Harnik

The White House did not inform news organisations ahead of time that the tree would be trimmed. Despite the White House saying a large portion of tree would be removed, before and after photos showed that not much of the tree had been cut away after all.

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who grew up in the White House during Bill Clinton’s two terms in office, tweeted her thanks late Tuesday to the horticulturists and National Park Service attendants who take care of the White House grounds. The White House is part of a national park.

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Associated Foreign Press
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