Windburn on a Southern Magnolia

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by madamelibrarian, May 15, 2009.

  1. madamelibrarian

    madamelibrarian Member

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    I have been babying along a southern magnolia for 8 years although I live in zone 6, Philadelphia, because others in my neighborhood have succeeded. I was hoping for flowers finally this year; instead March winds have nearly killed the tree. I am guessing from descriptions I found online that the tree is suffering from dessication due to the wind. My neighbor installed a board fence next to the tree last summer, which probably contributed to the draft on it. My question is whether to give up on the tree and get out my chainsaw. The tree is brown from the top down to the last two feet of the bottom branches. We have had extensive rain this spring but the tree doesn't show much sign of rebounding. Am I too impatient? I hate killing any garden plant but this is pretty sad looking.
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If twigs still fresh and winter burn is the problem re-leafing still possible.

    As are future episodes of cold damage. Maybe try again with a known extra-hardy selection trained against a warm wall, instead of out in the open where it gets the full blast of winter.
     
  3. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Madame,

    I agree with Ron. You might have a variety or even a form that isn't reliable here. I am also in Philly and there are Magnolias on Broad St where the wind whips like crazy and they look better than yours. There are gigantic trees in front of the art museum and on Washington Sq. If you're going to give it another chance consider a healthy layer of mulch and a weed free root run.

    This was a dry winter here and dry soil along with cold, windy conditions is lethal to Magnolias.
     
  4. madamelibrarian

    madamelibrarian Member

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    Thanks to Ron B and Poetry to Burn; you confirmed what I had pretty much decided. The twigs are brittle at the end with only some green near the main branches. And, you're right; it will probably happen again. As the tree was free from my cousin's Fredricksburg, VA compost pile I am not losing anything but time and hope that I could raise this kind of magnolia.
     

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