Rough Draft 1.0 10/21/2020
This tree comes from a very large genus of about 210 species of flowering plants. If you like bees or beekeeping it is a fun fact to know that it’s been said that the tree appeared before bees did. The usually pink flowers that bloom have been theorized that this has evolved to encourage pollination by bees. In this article we’ll cover how to plant and care for this incredible tree. The Conifer (Evergreen) and the Deciduous Species Differ.
The Southern Magnolia
This tree is the most well recognized and well known when magnolia trees are mentioned. This is the Alexandria Saucer Magnolia offering pink tulip like flowers all over the tree when spring arrives. This deciduous tree can be grown in almost any region from the most southern tip of Florida to as far north as Maine and Washington. In Western Washington within the Cascade Foothills we planted a Southern Magnolia that stands there to this day bringing flowers up high every spring.
Planting a Magnolia Tree
Start by digging your planting hole at least two to three times as wide and no deeper than the root ball. The wider the hole the better. Amend the soil with a good planting mix at a 50/50 ratio with the soil removed from the planting hole. To plant, set your Magnolia in the planting hole so that the top edge of the root ball is at or slightly above ground level (an inch or so) to allow for settling. After setting your Magnolia tree in the planting hole, keep the tree straight while back-filling your soil mixture around the root ball, It’s best to have two people when planting a magnolia tree. Next, deeply water the planting area. To help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth, spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of shredded or chipped wood mulch or a 3- to 4-inch layer of pine needles, grass clipping and / or fallen leaves around the planting area. As the mulch decomposes it will add vital nutrients to the soil that your plant will appreciate.
How to care for your Magnolia
Plant evergreen magnolias in early spring. Plant deciduous magnolias during autumn if you live in the South and during spring if you live in the North.
Well-drained, rich in organic matter is ideal. The Magnolia tree can tolerate clay, loam, or sandy soils. It is wonderful for your tree to add organic matter to our soil throughout the year.
Evergreen varieties grow best in full sun. Deciduous species prefer part shade. Where frost is possible after blooming begins, find the best sunny location and take measure to cover or grow in a protected location. Magnolia trees require little care and are resistant to many diseases and pests. They offer long life spans of 100 years or more given the right growing conditions.
Most varieties tolerate hot summers and moderate drought, making them a resilient choice for gardens in harsher climates. However, younger trees should be watered regularly until fully established. Constantly soggy or wet soils can be problematic. So make sure to plant them in a well-drained site.
Magnolias typically need little pruning other than to remove crossed or damaged branches or for aesthetic reasons. The best time for pruning is soon after the tree has finished blooming, in either late spring or early summer. Pruning too late in the season will result in fewer blossoms the following spring.
If your magnolia is growing and flowering well, there is no need to fertilize. However, if your tree isn’t thriving or has yellow leaves, you should have your soil tested. Check with your local nursery to see if they provide soil testing and recommendations for adding the right fertilizer. If you do decide to fertilize, wait until the spring after the flowers have fallen, then apply a slow release fertilizer just as your tree starts to leaf out.
A nick name for the magnolia tree is AKA as a tulip tree. Yes , in the spring when our magnolia tree was in bloom is was glorious and each fragrant flower looked like a pink tulip looking flowers. The tree was covered with tulips. If you’d like a single large trunk flowering tree in your landscape this is a great one to choose from.