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The Big Picture

The Bough Breaks.

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Photo: Cornell Plantations

With heavy hearts, Plantations staff and visitors are bidding goodbye to the Magnolia macrophylla tree that has charmed visitors to the arboretum for more than half a century. Plagued with rot and stress fractures, it has been deemed terminally ill and is slated for removal this fall. Growing well outside its usual range, the magnolia—which sports massive blossoms and two-foot-long leaves—is the only one of its kind in Tompkins County. Before its top was lopped off in an effort to prolong its lifespan, it stood more than three stories tall. It’s now cordoned off with caution tape and an explanatory sign headlined “Goodbye to an Old Friend.” Reaction to its imminent demise was so strong that Plantations staff created a video (available on Vimeo) explaining, almost tearfully, why it must go the way of the chainsaw. A sapling from its seed, already four feet tall, will eventually be planted nearby.

Photo: Cornell Plantations

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