I have a huge Magnolia tree in my front yard of the new house, does it need any special care?
  13 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 31, 2013
    I'm somewhat surprised you have a huge Magnolia in your front yard in Anchorage, Brenda—the state does not even list the tree on its Landscape Plants for Alaska web site—but a tree that's large and healthy can pretty much take care of itself. You might pamper it with a good all-purpose fertilizer like Espoma's Tree-tone in the spring.

  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Jul 31, 2013
    I'm with Douglas. I'm a bit startled to learn of a Mag surviving in Alaska, since they are very cold sensitive. But Douglas is right, they can pretty much take care of themselves, since they also produce a jurgone similar to a black walnut. They do not always play nicely with others. LOL They are an acid lover as well, so keep that in mind when choosing a fertilizer.

  • Peg Peg on Jul 31, 2013
    Are they pink or yellow magnolias? I have two different yellow ones that have done well in my cold area of NY. Not sure how cold your area is Brenda, but I'm sure colder than where I live!

  • Brenda Harrington Brenda Harrington on Jul 31, 2013
    I'm Sorry , I left Alaska over a week ago and moved to SC, lol I'll make sure I change that part of my profile.

  • However, Many folks do not realize what a temperate climate Anchorage has due to the currents in the Pacific running close by. Many plants are more specific to daylight hours than to temperature, but I know there are succesfull Magnolia trees as far North as my locale in Maine

  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Aug 01, 2013
    @ Brenda. Whew! That's quite a move and a whole different growing zone.You are all good, as long as your Mag is producing bloom and it will drop leaves, that's normal. Just give it a good acid heavy feed in the early spring and let it do it's thing. @Nichter's Home , I knew Mags would do well in the Northeast, however, I have a notion, Brenda is talking about a Magnolia grandiflora, they don't like real cold temps. Many of the newer varieties, however, are far more cold tolerant and produce beautiful bloom. I had 2 at one point, we lost one to lightening damage, but the other is doing fine. I periodically send seed from it to the Magnolia society for propagation. They also use them for research etc.

  • Brenda Harrington Brenda Harrington on Aug 01, 2013
    Thank You Catherine, it does have flower buds on it and the leaves are dropping so I have a healthy tree thank goodness. are there any pests I need to be concerned about?

  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Aug 02, 2013
    @Brenda Harrington There is a magnolia scale that can be a problem. However, it pays to get to know your tree, periodically check it over, so if there is something that appears that is not normal, you'll be able to quickly deal with the problem. I periodically spray the roots system of mine with probiotic microbes. A Magnolias root system is on top of the ground and the additional microbes help keep the tree stronger and healthier. Because I'm an organic gardener, I normally use compost and worm castings as a fertilizer. They need lots of nitrogen, but a slow release type. Because of the way their root system grows, you can add it by digging holes around the tree between the roots and add fertilizer, then deep water, so the tree gets maximum nutrients. Their pretty tough normally. You're in Magnolia country, lucky girl. They do smell so wonderful. I have been coveting a couple of the stella types, much smaller, but the blooms are gorgeous pink and white.

  • Brenda Harrington Brenda Harrington on Aug 02, 2013
    Thank You, I will definitely keep my eyes open, what do you use for the nitrogen fertilizer and where would I get the probiotics?

  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Aug 03, 2013
    @Brenda Harrington, here's the url for EM-1. This is a concentrated Mother culture and is easy to "activate". We normally get between 4-5 gallons of activated culture from one 12 oz bottle. Please understand this is totally organic and you can use it on everything, your trees, grass, flowers, veggie garden, yourself (if that's your deal, LOL). It smells rather like vinegar once it's "worked". Mix with water and spray, or you can use it straight. As for nitrogen fertilizer, you want a slow release type, with a high middle number. Can't really recommend a commercial type, as I haven't used one of those for years. The Espoma brand has some of the best selections, as well as being as close to organic that I've seen, very few chemical additives in that stuff. We mainly use our compost and worm castings for fertilizer with good results. We are ardent vermicomposters and worm castings are rich in nutrients.

  • Brenda Harrington Brenda Harrington on Aug 03, 2013
    I am with you on being organic, I try to not use chemicals if at all possible. Thanks for the tips.

  • Lgsmith Lgsmith on Aug 03, 2013
    Be very careful with the seed pod when they drop. Recommend that you never run over them with the lawn mower. They can fly out and break a window. Oh yes, the birds love the red seeds in the pods

  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Aug 04, 2013
    I have "crafty" friends who come over to collect those seed pods and some of the leaves for various projects. I currently have 10 seedlings I've managed to propogate from the seed from this tree. Interesting project, the seed covers are tough to get open, that took soaking and sandpaper to get to the "good stuff" but I'm very pleased. Very slow growers, but I believe we'll be able to move them up to a larger pot this fall.