A small Magnolia Tree (preferably soulangeana)

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by ilovemagnolia, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. ilovemagnolia

    ilovemagnolia Member

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    Hello, I am wishing to buy a magnolia tree suitable for the garden. Our garden is relatively small (approx. 7 by 5metres.) We already have many plants, flowers, and vegetables growing at the moment. At the side, we have an aisle which has nothing growing whatsoever. This part is overshadowed by the fence, and therefore extremely shady.
    So, I was wondering if it would be possible to plant a magnolia tree somewhere on this side. There used to be a relatively large tree there, before, but then it died- and fell down.
    I have been looking around, and prefer M.x Soulangeana. However this seems like it would be too wide. I know there is 'Stellata' that would be suitable for a smaller garden, however I do really like the Soulangeana genus.
    Please reply, and could anyone list a few varieties of magnolia that would be small, and grow in those conditions. N.B. The soil that we have is clay.
     

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  2. ilovemagnolia

    ilovemagnolia Member

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    Oh yeah, I didn't note that, the picture is the size that I think would be suitable. And plus, I live in England.
     
  3. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    What about a Magnolia liliiflora Nigra

    you may have to do some preparation work with your soil, a lot of Epsom clay is slightly alkaline.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Slightly alkaline shouldn't matter. It really is not feasible to alter a site adequately for a tree, anyway--unless you were to truck in yards of suitable soil and make a large mound to plant it on.

    The common small magnolias with precocious flowers (those that open before the leaves expand) are MM. liliiflora, stellata and the Kosar-DeVos hybrids between them. See U.S. National Arboretum web site for information about the latter. You can have M. x soulangeana in a comparatively small size if you are able to find one sold as 'Lilliputian', but this will still grow much larger than the small, topped (eeek!) specimen shown in above photo unless stunted by the site.

    See RHS Plant Finder web site for representative listings of what magnolias are on offer in UK and who is offering them. Many new hybrids are on the market. Note: as with garden conifers and other trees commercial literature tends to badly underepresent size potential of magnolia hybrids or may be listing 10 year heights without clearly indicating that is what they are.
     
  5. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    I was by no means implying that the PH of the soil was to be changed........there are two schools of thought in regard to planting trees and shrubs, on one side are the treat it mean brigade, the just dig a hole and let it get on with it, its going to have to get used to the soil because it's got no choice. on the other side are the gradual acclimatization group, the side i believe in, hence my recommendation of the addition of a peat based compost.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The no amendments group is basing their recommendations on decades of scientific experiments which have long since demonstrated that response of transplants is consistently less when amendments are added to the planting hole. This is due primarily to texture of amended backfill being different from surrounding soil, affecting how water moves into and out of amended zone around new plant. If you learn the mechanics of amending of planting holes no amount of amendments is called for, adding a small amount is pointless. See Whitcomb, ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF LANDSCAPE PLANTS (currently under revision, but stocked by college libraries--here in USA anyway) for full discussion.
     
  7. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    I really should stop plugging the peat (i like the stuff, and the peat producers get such a hard time)

    Ron when you talk of transplants do you refer to bare root?

    and surely there are other benefits of adding organic matter to the soil, your post kind of flys in the face of convention, i have never seen or heard of anyone just planting into unammended soil.
    Were talking domestic gardens here, not landscape projects or forestry.

    I have been reading the myths pages and quite frankly there is virtually no experimental data to back up Dr linds theories, are there more pages to read with the data?

    Dont get me wrong here im not saying everything she says is wrong, not by any stretch of the imagination, but i will question when something is written that disputes convention.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2006
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    "Research findings and new technology are slow to be incorporated into nursery and landscape practices. Tradition is important and has a distinct place in our society, however, blind allegiance to tradition stymies progress. In 1968, a study was begun to determine the 'optimum' amount of soil amendments to use in the planting hole since recommendations varied from 5% to 50% by volume. The optimum amount turned out to be none. The findings were in such contrast to tradition, the question arose, 'If tradition was in error regarding soil amendments, what about other practices?' This led to numerous studies relative to reducing stress and accelerating growth of landscape plants." - ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF LANDSCAPE PLANTS, page 2
     

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