Historic magnolia tree meets grisly end
AUGUSTA, Ga. — The 150-year-old magnolia tree that a violent thunderstorm uprooted from Augusta National earlier this week did not receive a 21-gun salute as the grounds crew carted it down Magnolia Lane. There was no tear-jerking rendition of "Taps." And there was no candlelight vigil either.
The tree's final hours were far more grisly.
The smaller pieces of the magnolia have been “ground up into little bits,” said Steve Ethun, an Augusta National spokesman. The bigger pieces were chopped up and are now down at the club’s nursery, awaiting their next assignment.
A coffee table, perhaps? Or firewood? Or into a wood chipper and bagged for patrons who want to purchase a tiny piece of Augusta lore?
Too early to say. That decision, Ethun said, will be made at a later date.
One thing’s certain: the tree will not be easy to replace. As Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne said Wednesday, “One-hundred-and-fifty-year-old magnolias are in short supply for transplanting.”
Even if the club can find such a tree, the odds of a successful transplant are “very slim,” says Donna Rayfield, a certified arborist and executive director of the Georgia Aborist Association.
“Think about a tree like it’s a person,” she said. “When it gets to a certain age, it starts declining.” The older the tree, she said, the less likely it is to survive a relocation.
Payne spoke of the downed magnolia like it was an old friend.
“We were all very much saddened," he said, "and we will make the best out of a difficult situation." Photo: Getty Images