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Are you a friend or foe of Southern Magnolias?

Callaway Gardens states in best in their blog:

Nothing conjures up images of the South more than Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora).  Its glossy evergreen leaves are a great addition to the landscape at any time of the year.  The large, fragrant blossoms boldly suggest “southern belle” to many.  

Now, we have a love-hate relationship with these trees.  There seems to be to camps: people either love them or hate them.  The thick foliage tends to drop year-round and it doesn’t decompose readily, so they can be messy, especially in a manicured lawn or landscape.  Although the seeds are good wildlife food, they are dispersed by wildlife and magnolia seedlings tend to come up throughout the landscape and woodland, becoming somewhat invasive.

There is much variation within the species.  Named varieties give you the opportunity to choose characteristics that you prefer.  For instance, ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty’ is a fairly compact plants with beautiful brown, velvety undersurface of the leaves.  ‘Little Gem’ is a small, compact tree with smaller leaves and flowers but produces blooms when the plant is fairly young.  There are a number of other varieties from which to choose.

Whatever your thoughts are on Southern Magnolias, they do announce that summertime is here!

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Replies

  • Awesome Tree! A landmark tree in low-country. Reminder: Know everything about a tree before planting it. Like the concept of 'Right Tree - Right Place', read all you can about a tree species before planting a specimen; understand its growth habit, cultural needs and maintenance needs - short term and long term. You may learn to love it or hate it before introducing into your landscape.  

  • I absolutely love mine! The blooms are gorgeous, as are the seed pods. It has a beautiful shape next to the house. Mine has Boston ivy growing under it and we have kept the low branches. I clip the ivy at the base of the trunk once a year and let the leaves fall in place, where they are mostly hidden by the ivy.
  • Cardio benefits of raking leaves, that is a good one!  I also get the "slap" look with some of my tree comments, especially when someone brings up the topic of Japanese Maples which many are obsessed with and I find to be close to useless except under very special circumstances, like a Japanese Garden but as a landscape tree....eye roll.

    Tom Knowles said:

    One of our Favs here in SC. I hear people complaining because they drop leaves and my usual reply is.."yeah, it's a tree, that's what they do" to which I sometimes get a chuckle but also sometimes I get a look like they want to slap me. I also usually try to slip in a comment on the cardio benefits of raking leaves... Best use...large, open areas, full sun and leave the lower branches on the trunk so it is full to the ground.

  • One of our Favs here in SC. I hear people complaining because they drop leaves and my usual reply is.."yeah, it's a tree, that's what they do" to which I sometimes get a chuckle but also sometimes I get a look like they want to slap me. I also usually try to slip in a comment on the cardio benefits of raking leaves... Best use...large, open areas, full sun and leave the lower branches on the trunk so it is full to the ground.

  • Magnolia's are great trees, for reason stated above,and then some!  They are tough, drought reisitant, and somewhat tolerant of anerobic soil conditions.  This qualifies Maggie for heavy duty in the urban environment!

  • I have very mixed feelings about the Magnolia.  I live in the Piedmont, and technically the Magnolia is not native.  I do not like Southern Magnollias in a Piedmont forest, they just look wrong.  That said, I love the blooms in the summer and the evergreen in the winter so I enjoy it as a landscape plant.  They are also wonderful trees for climbing anywhere, particularly for small children. I know a few that are better than traditional playgrounds.

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