December 26, 2017

The Jackson Magnolia — planted in front of the White House by Andrew Jackson to honor his wife Rachel — must come down.

"The overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised and the tree is completely dependent on the artificial support. 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.... Around 1970, it's believed one of the leaders broke off from the other two and was removed, and its cavity was exposed, leaving the entire tree susceptible to decay. As such, the cavity was filled in with cement, a procedure not advisable today, but which at the time was deemed the proper course of action. The concrete did irretrievable damage and in 1981, it was removed and replaced with a large pole and cable system, which remain today, holding up the remaining leaders."

CNN reports.



Rachel Jackson died just after her husband's election, before he took office, and Jackson blamed his opponent for her death:
According to Ann Toplovich, executive director of the Tennessee Historical Society, John Quincy Adams' presidential campaigns targeted Jackson's "passion and lack of self-control" in both 1824 and 1828, "making it central to the argument that he would devastate the integrity of the Republic and its institutions." One newspaper ran an article asking, “‘Ought a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband to be placed in the highest offices of this free and Christian land?’”

The publicity surrounding her and the public knowledge of what was considered a very private matter caused Rachel to sink into depression. She reputedly told a friend “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than live in that palace in Washington.”... She died suddenly on December 22, 1828, probably of a heart attack.... That her death came immediately before Jackson left for Washington was... crippling. He held her body tightly until he was pulled away, and he lingered at the Hermitage until the latest possible date. Even though her maladies began as early as 1825, Jackson always blamed his political enemies for her death. "May God Almighty forgive her murderers," Jackson swore at her funeral. "I never can."
Today, on Twitter, the man whose shocking upset victory seems comparable only to Jackson's, is savaged for the death of the tree, e.g., "Trump is so filth ridden he's rotting out iconic White House Magnolia trees that have been there for hundreds of years. A dying tree is representative of Trump's brutal attack on Mother Earth & science. How Bout they leave the Iconic White House tree and remove trump"; "A rotten dying Iconic White House tree is representative not just of Trump's brutal attack on Mother Earth & science, but it's symbolic of everything that Trump has done to our sacred Democracy since taking office."

The pro-Trump side is not unrepresented, e.g., "The rotting Iconic White House tree is a symbol of the decay of Washington D.C. and liberal politics in general. Drain the swamp, remove the legacy of the Obama's presidency and 'Make America Great Again.'"

88 comments:

Mac McConnell said...

My take away is the great love Jackson had for his wife. I'm always amazed that many old couples die within minutes or a year of their spouses due to the loss. I'm amazed mostly because I've never found that kind of love, at least not returned.

WH should just plant another magnolia in her honor.

Rob said...

Slaveholder Jackson probably had his slaves plant the tree. For that reason alone, the tree should come down.

Big Mike said...

The tree was rotten before Trump came to town. Should have been taken care of by Obama, but he let it slide the way he let so many other problems slide.

Rick Turley said...

"...he's rotting out iconic White House Magnolia trees that have been there for hundreds of years..."

Looks like another example of the Fox Butterfield effect. Any competent Southern gardener knows that the magnolia has reached the outer limits of its expected lifespan.

Leslie Graves said...

Some trees really just can't be saved. We'd been trying to save a white pine in our yard for 20 years with cables and other forms of tree doctoring but in 2017, it got to be beyond repair and had to come down. Painful, but we put up a deck in its place.

Michael Brand said...

Sounds like they've tried to Francisco Franco this tree.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Looks like another example of the Fox Butterfield effect. Any competent Southern gardener knows that the magnolia has reached the outer limits of its expected lifespan.

Or do little searching on the Internet, and find out a Magnolia lives 80 - 120 years. At 189 years and after having concrete poured into it at one time, its hardly surprising that it has reached the end of its life. I wonder if the could get seeds or a cultivar from the tree and replace it? But of course sensible discussion is impossible.

Meade said...

"Drain the swamp"

Indeed. The Jackson Magnolia was no doubt planted too low, in poorly-drained soil, slowly suffocating due to roots unable to take up oxygen. I imagine the idiotic Clintons spreading their sewage sludge didn't help it either. Sad.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

People who don't know anything about trees often seem to think they are immortal unless some outside force kills them. These are often people who believe in SCIENCE! but can't make the logical leap that death is a necessary component to evolution.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Hey Meade, I have two maple trees in my yard, but don't know if they are Sugar Maples or Silver Maples. How do you tell the difference?

Meade said...

" I wonder if the could get seeds or a cultivar from the tree and replace it?"

Read the last paragraph at the linked article.

Quaestor said...

Cut down the Jackson Magnolia now, before it falls to wind or snow. Salvage the usable timber and make something decorative and monumental of it, something to commemorate Rachael Jackson, for example.

Tim at large said...

These "attacks on science” kill me. It’s almost as if that think that science were faith-based and whatever conclusions get printed in the newspaper were beyond question, and to question the newspapers’ reportage of the state of science is some kind of heresy.

tcrosse said...

Maybe they should get Harvey Weinstein (remember him?) to "fertilize" it.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Meade, thanks for the tip.

Tim at large said...

Sugar Maples or Silver Maples. How do you tell the difference?

Sugar maples drop their “helicopter seeds” in the fall. If they aren’t soft maples, you can still make syrup, it just takes more energy because the sugar concentration is lower. You can tap any hard maple if you like. Maybe even soft maples, which we called “cut leaf maples.” I am not sure on that, but I think we did it once when I was a kid and got some sugar, before we burned it. We boiled it in a frying pan. If you are interested, give it a try. The first sap, just as the first temps above freezing come in late winter, makes a very light and almost fruity syrup, then as the season wears on, towards when the leaves come out, and the flavor changes, it gets darker and has a stronger flavor.

Just keep the collection equipment clean, and don’t allow the sap to sit around very long, or it will turn, and your syrup will have an “off” flavor.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Their Sugar Maples then. Thanks.

Tim at large said...

Making maple syrup isn’t hard. You should give it a shot. It just takes a little time. Some people even finish it in a crock pot. You need a good thermometer because you know it is ready as the temperature of the boiling sap rises a few degrees above the boiling point for water. Other than that, and the taps, you probably have everything you need already.

Another thing I never heard of until recently, but that is really good and easy to make is “pear honey." Look up how on the internet, but it is about the same as making apple sauce, obviously but with pears, and it has the consistency of honey, but with a pear flavor.

Gahrie said...

One of the biggest sins of the Left was making every fucking thing about politics.

tcrosse said...

Sugar Maples or Silver Maples. How do you tell the difference?

Neither are anything like Marla Maples.

Gahrie said...

These are often people who believe in SCIENCE! but can't make the logical leap that death is a necessary component to evolution.

As is extinction.

mockturtle said...

My admiration for Andrew Jackson was always enhanced when reading of his unapologetic devotion to his wife.

Meade said...

For Ron: How to Identify Maple Tree Varieties
Merry Boxing Day!

Rick Turley said...

Ron Winkleheimer said...

"Hey Meade, I have two maple trees in my yard, but don't know if they are Sugar Maples or Silver Maples. How do you tell the difference?"

Not Meade here, but Silver Maples have a much more finely lobed leaf with a silvery underside to them. Much faster growing than most which leads to brittle wood. Leaves generally yellow in the fall but so are some others. Was commonly used in landscaping at one time.

The city of Chicago planted one in my parkway in front of our house. Hated it so much I cut it down with a hacksaw which took some doing for a tree with a 10" diameter trunk, leading to my nickname of "Hacksaw" when I audited horticulture courses and told the story in class.

Lem said...

"our sacred Democracy" is hilarious when you think about all the elections these people have rigged with the dead and illegals voting.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Jackson straddled the "old" South, the frontier West, and the more staid or commercial United States of the 1830s. His devotion to Rachel brought all this to the forefront. He and Rachel believed she was properly divorced, but she was (apparently) not (records may not have been clear). This meant they were arguably living in sin during a time when they thought they were properly married. Whenever Jackson heard any rumour of someone besmirching his wife's honour, he would challenge the man involved to a duel; bien sur, there was nothing he could do about gossiping women. I think he fought in something like 30 duels, and nearly died at least once.

William said...

Jackson's devotion to his wife is all the more remarkable when you consider what an eyesore she was.

Meade said...

Hey, William... them's duelin' words!

BDNYC said...

But wasn't Jackson horrible, virulent racist — literally Hitler?

Herb said...

Some say it performance that counts more than appearance...

Tim at large said...

Is there a trail of tears of those weeping for the tree that Trump destroyed?

Clyde said...

I wonder if they can keep the tree going until spring, take a cutting from it and plant the cutting in the tree's place? You'd have the continuity of the old tree that way.

Bad Lieutenant said...

In the article there is a photo captioned:

Then-first lady Barbara Bush gives Hillary Clinton a White House tour in 1992.

This previously unseen image of their steel-cage deathmatch clearly demonstrates that, had the Secret Service not pulled Babs off the helpless, smirking "Word-that-rhymes-with-rich" Clinton, we might have been spared the horrors of the 2008 election cycle. (Word is the lead agent who saved HRC later are his gun, but as his body was later burned and the ashes buried under an outhouse, forensics are inconclusive.)

David said...

Rob said...
Slaveholder Jackson probably had his slaves plant the tree.


Unlikely. There were plenty of indigenous slaves in Washington at the time. No need to bring them all that way. The feds would have hired the work out and paid the local slaveowner.

Bad Lieutenant said...


Blogger Clyde said...
I wonder if they can keep the tree going until spring

Dude, asked and answered, RTFA

cronus titan said...

Sometimes a tree is just a tree.

Curious George said...

Jackson devotion to his wife reminds me Bill toward Hillary. Except Bill didn't plant a tree, he planted a cigar, and it wasn't on the White House lawn, but in a White House intern.

mockturtle said...

Jackson's devotion to his wife is all the more remarkable when you consider what an eyesore she was.

Jackson was no Paul Newman.

Darrell said...

The US doesn't take "No" for an answer.
Clone the son-of-a-bitch.
You'll have a story to tell the future generations of tourists and school children.

mockturtle said...

Speaking of Paul Newman, he was also devoted to his wife of 50 years and Joanne is no beauty queen. There are actually stronger ties than mere attraction.

Gurlal Singh said...

Why u not help for making a blog on educational purposes

n.n said...

Cut down a tree, and plant a windmill, or perhaps a garden of PV panels. Show me the green.

Darrell said...

Jackson would have punched Prince Harry in the face and pushed him down the stairs if he flipped the bird to Rachel.

Gahrie said...

But wasn't Jackson horrible, virulent racist

Well of course. He was a Democrat wasn't he? (In fact he founded the Democratic Party)

David said...

There are a lot of old photos of the WH, starting around 1860, in which the tree looks suspiciously small for one planted in 1830. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WHITE_HOUSE._SHEEP_ON_LAWN10788v.jpg

The tree that is coming down is obviously very old but I wonder how solid the Jackson provenance actually is.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Thanks to everyone who gave me tips on identifying types of Maple trees.

Quaestor said...

I see Meade has changed his avatar from a cardinal to another cardinal. His next avatar will be this.

Meade said...

Ha.

MaxedOutMama said...

Sometimes a dying tree is just a tree?

tcrosse said...

I see Meade has changed his avatar from a cardinal to another cardinal. His next avatar will be this.

Or this

Lucien said...

Oh. My. God. First Trump retweeted the video of him wrestling CNN (Fake News!), then he actually looked at the sun during an eclipse, then Baron was under-dressed, then Melania had the unmitigated gall to where high heels while walking to Marine 1 before going to a disaster zone, then Ivanka let her young children play under her skirts even during The Reckoning, then Trump used two hands to drink a glass of water -- and now this. And Now This. These people are ruining our country.

Quaestor said...

Ha!

LarsPorsena said...

Jackson's devotion to his wife is all the more remarkable when you consider what an eyesore she was.

Take a look at Julia Dent Grant and you will think of Rachel as a runway model.
Also unfair since it's a portrait of her in her later years.

Meade said...

The Wizard!

Katherine said...

Reading the article reveals that Melania Trump, who reviewed the report carefully before authorizing the tree's removal, has requested some of the wood be saved, and that a seedling already 8-10 feet tall is ready to be planted in the place of the dying old tree. Nice.

Rick Turley said...

I have a number of Cardinals on our property but have never seen one flip!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpQT_z1OoEI

By the way, went to a Cardinals game in the Nineties as a Cub's fan and never saw a nicer, more polite crowd. A Pirates, Reds game near that time was a different story. Should have cut off beer sales much earlier in that extra innings game. Saw a couple of people tumbling down the stairs in the upper deck. Yikes!

Curious George said...

"mockturtle said...
Speaking of Paul Newman, he was also devoted to his wife of 50 years and Joanne is no beauty queen. There are actually stronger ties than mere attraction."

She was pretty hot.

walter said...

Jackson Magnolia sounds like a country group.

Meade said...

Thanks, Rick. That's the clip I was looking for. And I agree — Cards fans set the standard.

PB said...

They've cultivated several shoots from the tree that are ten feet tall. One of these can be planted in the original tree's place so it will live on.

Drago said...

Katherine: "Reading the article reveals that Melania Trump, who reviewed the report carefully before authorizing the tree's removal, has requested some of the wood be saved, and that a seedling already 8-10 feet tall is ready to be planted in the place of the dying old tree. Nice."


Wow, just like Eva Braun would have done!---Any leftist

Darrell said...

I ordered the wood to be dried and burned to upset the carbon footprint crowd. Because that's how I roll.

AllenS said...

The wood from the Great Jackson Magnolia will be cut and split, then used to send smoke signals from the White House.

They will say: PO -- CA -- HON -- TAS -- HA -- HA

Sorry, but there is no exclamation mark in Cherokee smoke signals. So, there!

edutcher said...

The Andrew Jackson - Rachel Donelson love story was one of the great romances of American history and comparable to that of US Grant and Julia Dent or Armstrong Custer and Libbie Bacon.

Since Trump's victory has had the same effect on the DC swamp as Jackson's, it's fitting the Establishment is freaking out over this.

Continuity.

William said...

Jackson's devotion to his wife is all the more remarkable when you consider what an eyesore she was.

Only in her old age.

When she was young, she was quite the looker, apparently.

Drago said...

Wow, just like Eva Braun would have done!---Any leftist

I wasn't aware Frau Hitler was a tree hugger. If you're talking about landscaping the Berghof, that was mostly Martin Bormann's doing. As far as politics, I'm not aware she had any.

As for Mrs Trump, as she grew up in Commie-occupied Slovenia, she has yet to say anything even close to resembling the Hildabeast or Mike Obama. And she certainly loves Christmas.

(how can one be so wrong on so many levels?)

Drago said...

edutcher: "I wasn't aware Frau Hitler was a tree hugger. If you're talking about landscaping the Berghof, that was mostly Martin Bormann's doing. As far as politics, I'm not aware she had any.

As for Mrs Trump, as she grew up in Commie-occupied Slovenia, she has yet to say anything even close to resembling the Hildabeast or Mike Obama. And she certainly loves Christmas."

Hmmmm, you might have missed a joke in there somewhere.

pacwest said...

"has requested some of the wood be saved,"

We did a courthouse in the 80's with veneers from an oak tree from Monticello. Very expensive. I'm not sure how much of the magnolia is usable, but I'd love to get my hands on some of it. Fat chance at any price most likely.

Sam L. said...

It it amazing to me, though no longer surprising, what people will say about those they dislike. Particularly when there is simply no way what they say could be affected by the one they so hate.

YoungHegelian said...

St. John's College in Annapolis had a similar problem with its iconic Liberty Tree, but that was too long ago to blame on Trump.

I remember seeing the tree on the WH lawn when I worked at the EOP, but I was unaware of its history. DC is actually a bit far north for magnolias to thrive, so I'm surprised the tree lasted as long as it did. Now, back in northern Alabama where I come from, they go hog wild. My mother's house has this big, absolute honker of a magnolia in the front war which shades to death absolutely any other plant near it.

And, as Ron W, points out above, many folks seem to think trees are immortal. As someone who lives in a neighborhood full of oaks & maples reaching end of life, I can tell you (and have the monstrous paid checks for tree removal to prove) that this is not the case.

YoungHegelian said...

"front war" = "front yard" above.

What a weird autocorrect!

chickelit said...

The Obama-led crusade to replace Jackson on the $20 bill with a “person of color” will do more damage to Jackson’s legacy than removing this tree.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Jackson's devotion to his wife is all the more remarkable when you consider what an eyesore she was.

Tacky way to refer to another human being.

Fabi said...

Trump should have tee markers made from the heartwood. Titty Twister will be along shortly to tell us how this would violate the Emoluments Clause and that Trump cheats at golf.

Tank said...

@Fabi

Or tees, and mail them to Americans with our tax refunds. Imprinted with "Trump" of course.

Fabi said...

I want a few of those, Tank!

Big Mike said...

Mike Obama? Them's fighting words!

Jim at said...

(how can one be so wrong on so many levels?)

I think your Sarc Meter could use a tune-up.

Gahrie said...

The Obama-led crusade to replace Jackson on the $20 bill with a “person of color” will do more damage to Jackson’s legacy than removing this tree.

I think they settled on replacing Hamilton on the $10 instead because it was the next bill up for redesign.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Awesome. Trump's a big fan of Jackson. Probably his fave president.

Tear it down. The symbolism in this is a great thing to behold.

Joseph Severs said...

Sorry, how is cutting down a tree planted by a slaveowner upsetting Trump opponents?

Gospace said...

Mac McConnell said...
My take away is the great love Jackson had for his wife. I'm always amazed that many old couples die within minutes or a year of their spouses due to the loss


My parents dies 13 days apart. After being divorced 43 years. I attribute it to them both being 82 with similar lifestyles.

Meade said...

Sorry for your losses, Gospace.

traditionalguy said...

Replace it with a hickory tree. Jackson was tougher and meaner than GW was and a better General too. His beloved wife was a Donaldson,which is a sect of the Scots McDonald clan,and also my fathers family line. His deeds as the second father of this country added the other half of the States to the USA.

robother said...

"Slaveholder Jackson probably had his slaves plant the tree. For that reason alone, the tree should come down."

We could find the descendants of the original slaves that planted the magnolia, and ask them to participate in planting the new magnolia as a gesture of racial healing. Be interesting to see how many are still surnamed Jackson.

Michael K said...

Making maple syrup isn’t hard. You should give it a shot. It just takes a little time.

When I lived in New Hampshire for a year, my next door neighbor had about ten acres of maples and made syrup every year. I helped him the spring I was there and had a lot fun with it.

He used metal trash cans with a plastic liner to collect the sap and hauled it around with a golf cart thing. Stainless buckets hung from each tap.

I guess he made about five gallons.

Maybe we could get the Mayor of Memphis to take the tree down at night, like he dug up Nathan Bedford Forrest's body.

Martin said...

To paraphrase Sigmund Freud: "Sometimes a tree is just a tree."

Bad Lieutenant said...

You mess with his Rachel tree, tradguy, and Zombie Jackson will shoot you in the face. And then eat it.

Tim at large said...

I never saw that Cardinals logo with the bird with a bat waiting for a pitch. That is great. They should bring it back. Or the Orioles or Blue Jays should steal it.

Fritz said...

I think they should leave the tree up, and make the press corps stand under it for pres conferences, especially in high winds.