What's a showy and productive tree for Okanagan?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by rockandroller, Jul 4, 2020.

  1. rockandroller

    rockandroller Active Member

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    North Okanagan (formerly NB)
    I'm in the north Okanagan, and apples, peaches, and plums all grow well in my neighborhood. I have one protected corner of my yard, shielded from the elements by wood fences, and I am dreaming of one day having a twenty foot tall flowering tree grown up out of that corner, to beautify the neighborhood.

    The past couple of years I have tried to grow Magnolia trees there, first a yellow butterfly imported as rootstock from PEI, and then a local hardy favorite from the local nursery. This town is full of beautiful flowering Magnolia trees, lining all of the city streets!

    But no luck in my corner. The first got to six or eight flowers and an equal number of leaves the first year, but the second year the leaves curled and it died.

    Next (more mature $100 tree) did ok the first year, and I tried preventative treatment with copper spray, but it didn't help. Leaves all fell off, and it's dead now too ( was hopeful this spring, but no luck).

    Should I excavate deeply and remove all soil before trying another tree? Can I ameliorate the soil somehow? Or do I just have bad luck or bad tree karma??

    Every plant within three feet of this corner is THRIVING, including a very pesky invasive Chinese elm I have to cut back every year, huge lilac bushes, various other trees, grape vines... (Sigh)

    But so far no luck with Magnolia trees.

    And I am wondering if there is something else really showy that I can plant there. Ideally something that won't grow taller than twenty feet, since there is a 25kv transmission line right overhead...

    Any suggestions?
  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hampshire England Zone 8b UK
    Good morning @rockandroller, I'm looking at your post thinking that there is something wrong with the soil in that area of your garden. You seem to be a keen gardener who wants the best for your plants.
    Regarding Magnolias, you have chosen correctly as the conditions are right, shown by the trees growing everywhere in your neighbourhood. It is always best when planting a new garden to look around you to see what is successful.
    If you have not been in that house too long it might be worth asking your next door neighbours about some history of what was in that corner of the garden.
    I would not plant anything else there atm only to see it die until you get some history. The soil maybe contaminated for some reason and to excavate and replace with good topsoil might be your best chance of having the tree that you want in that area. Soil improvement will only lessen the problem slightly if indeed there is a problem.
    Some local authorities will carry out soil testing at a price, it might be worth enquiring with your local council about this.
    Magnolias like a lot of sun in moist free draining soil that has a PH of neutral or slightly acidic, so just under 7 is ideal. If they dry out they will die, but that does not mean water logging as this will cause root rot and death also. A check to see if you have these conditions is also worth while.
    Do not give up on having the tree of your dreams in that part of your garden, IMO it is not bad luck or bad tree karma.
    rockandroller likes this.

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