Caring for a Magnolia Tree

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What You'll Need
Lopping shears
Garden shears

The magnolia tree is considered by some as the ideal ornamental garden tree. Magnolias are commonly used for landscaping the garden, often as standalone trees. Magnolias are easy-to-grow and can endure harsh climatic conditions. Furthermore, their foliage can be landscaped with conventional pruning tools.

Magnolias need some basic caring throughout the year. Magnolia care is not demanding, but it needs a systematic approach. Furthermore, heavily-flowering varieties of magnolias have some typical requirements. Magnolia tree care can be easily understood in terms of seasonal demands.

Magnolia Spring Care

Mulching is integral to all varieties of magnolias. It is useful as a natural weedicide. It helps to conserve moisture around the basal stem and upper roots, minimizing the need for watering magnolias regularly. Mulching protects the bark against damage caused by alternating freezing and thawing. Mulching during the early spring season is the most beneficial. You should spread a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around the tree’s base. Organic mulch is recommended for this purpose. You can use garden refuse such as weathered flowers and scattered foliage for mulching. Younger magnolias need a sustained mulching regime wherein you should replace the mulch layer every three months. Ensure that the mulch is never waterlogged, as this can promote fungal infections.

Magnolia Summer Care

A magnolia tree.

Young magnolias, particularly the newly-planted ones, need lots of water. The demand for water almost doubles during the summer season. Magnolias less than a year old are particularly susceptible to summer season damage, such as drying-up of roots. Young magnolias have delicate roots that take time to acclimatize with the garden soil. During this time, the shortest of dry spells can lead to their premature death. You should water young magnolias regularly. Magnolias more than three-season old need occasional, summer-season watering. A single but intense, weekly-watering session is sufficient for them. You should not water with a hose, as the pressure of sprayed water can rupture the mulch layer. You can prune the damaged, dried branches during the summers. Avoid heavy pruning during this time.

Magnolia Fall Care

Feeding magnolias at least once during the fall is vital. You don’t need any specific, expensive fertilizers for this. Common varieties of garden fertilizers, the all-purpose varieties, are perfect for magnolias. If your garden bed remains excessively wet, use granular fertilizers. Common estimation for magnolia fertilization is one pound of garden fertilizer per inch of thmain trunk’s diameter. This diameter is measured about 4 feet upwards from the tree’s base. Pruning during the fall is considered safe. You should prune off the upright water sprouts and suckers found on branches. Garden shears and lopping shears can be used for pruning magnolias. If you want to shape the tree’s crown, prune during the late fall season. Remember to adjust the fertilizer amount after the first three falls, by this time the root systems will need less nourishment.

Magnolia Winter Care

A magnolia tree.

Magnolias need minimal winter pruning. It is usually done before the winter sets in. You should prune-away all lower branches that are bending due to colder conditions. If allowed to grow, they give the tree a shrubby appearance. If the intertwined branches have become too thick, use heavy-duty loppers for pruning. Magnolias are naturally resistant against bacterial or viral infections, but extreme cutting induced due to careless pruning can make them vulnerable to diseases. Ensure that you make clean, smaller cuts away from the main stem. You should preserve the dominant trunk and prune-off the surrounding, younger stems.

Flowering–type Magnolia Care

Saucer magnolias are the most common form of flowering, deciduous magnolias. Saucer magnolias are early bloomers. This attracts the problem of spring frost. Blooming can be delayed by growing them in areas with less-than-average sunlight. Saucer magnolias can be planted in garden beds having taller, surrounding trees that curtail sunlight to some extent.