The giant tree lost its footing after a weekend of rain soaked Washington, D.C.

A mulberry tree located at the base of the Washington Monument has fallen over due to saturated and weakened soil. The more than 200-year-old tree has been a part of the landscape dating back to the dedication of the Washington Monument in 1885. National Park Service (NPS) crews wrapped the tree roots to protect it until the situation could be evaluated by an arborist.

On Monday, May 14, arborist and NPS tree supervisor Jason Gillis said he hopes to stabilize and salvage the tree.

“We’re working with industry partners to hopefully do a partial raise, install a custom prop, and that will keep this mulberry in the landscape for some time to come, keep it safe and give it a very pleasing aesthetic form.”

The white mulberry tree is known as a “witness tree,” a term describing trees at historic sites that have borne witness to time and history. In 2006, the NPS started The Witness Tree Protection Program to protect 24 named trees at sites around the region. 

Heavy rains caused another problem for the National Park Service this past weekend in Virginia. A sinkhole on the George Washington Memorial Parkway near Arlington forced NPS crews to close both northbound lanes indefinitely. Crews were finally able to open one lane for the evening commute on Tuesday.

The Washington Monument is currently closed to visitors as it undergoes renovations to its elevators and construction of a new visitor screening center. The 555-foot marble tower has been closed since 2016 and is expected to reopen in August of 2019. The original opening date was pushed back this spring when crews discovered contaminated soil at the base of the obelisk. 

What lengths would you go through to preserve a beloved plant or tree? Tell us in the comments!