The Mystery Of The Missing French Oak Sapling Solved
An oak sapling brought to the United States by French President Macron went missing over the weekend. The reason for its disappearance has been answered.
One highlight of the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the White House last week came on his first day in town when Macron, President Trump, and their wives participated in the planting of an oak tree sapling that Macron had brought with him as a gift. The sapling had a symbolic value in that it was taken from the forest at the site of the June 1918 Battle of Belleau Wood, a World War One battle in which some 2,000 U.S. Marines died. Several days ago, though, reporters noticed that the sapling had gone missing:
WASHINGTON — A mystery is brewing at the White House about what happened to the oak tree President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron planted there last week.
The sapling was a gift from Macron on the occasion of his state visit.
News photographers snapped away Monday when Trump and Macron shoveled dirt onto the tree during a ceremonial planting on the South Lawn. By the end of the week, the tree was gone from the lawn. A pale patch of grass was left in its place.
The White House hasn’t offered an explanation.
The oak sprouted at a World War I battle site that became part of U.S. Marine Corps legend.
Requests for comment from the White House over the weekend went unanswered, but the French offered one explanation, as reported by Reuters:
French President Emmanuel Macron celebrated the special relationship between the United States and France during his state visit to Washington last week by planting a tree with President Donald Trump on the grounds of the White House.
Now the oak sapling is gone – at least temporarily.
White House photographers noticed the tree was gone days after it had been planted. Mystery ensued.
In fact, the tree, from Belleau Wood in France where almost 2,000 American soldiers died in a World War One battle, had been dug up not long after it was planted. It was put in quarantine, according to U.S. and French officials. The problem: Parasites on the tree could spread to others on the White House property.
“It was actually a special favor from Trump to France to be able to plant the tree the day of the president’s visit,” an official from Macron’s office said.
It’s also been speculated by some horticulturists quoted in other reports that the tree may not be replanted until the late summer or fall so as to allow the sapling time to develop a stronger root system in order to withstand the heat and dryness that generally characterizes a Washington summer. Either explanation makes sense, of course, but one wonders why the White House didn’t make this clear from the start, or why it didn’t have a response ready when the sapling, which was planted in a fairly open and obvious area on the White House lawn seemingly disappeared overnight. Also puzzling is why the White House didn’t announce in advance that the planting last week was a purely symbolic event. If nothing else, this is another demonstration of how the White House Communications Office doesn’t seem to be on top of the game.