Well, magnolias are handsome ornamental trees, with their showy flowers, their dark green leaves and their relatively small size. Magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol. They are generally thought of as southern plants, but there are species that will do well in the north,, even though they may not make you feel like Scarlett O’Hara. Saucer magnolia (magnolia x soulangiana) grows about 25 feet tall, normally with several trunks, with smooth, dark gray bark. The large flowers, white streaked with pink and purple, sit upright at the tips of the branches before the leaves appear. Star magnolia is a considerably smaller tree the flowers, which appear quite early in spring, are like large fragile white stars. The natural range of Magnolia species is a disjunction distribution, with a main centre in east and Southeast Asia and a secondary centre in eastern North America, Central America, the West Indies, and some species in South America.

The foliage much finer textured than that of saucer magnolia. Bothe are hardy, but in cold climates are best grown in a partly shaded exposure to retard bloom early flowers can be killed by cold, and late snowstorms can turn start magnolia blossoms into tattered wrecks. Southern magnolia, also called “bull bay” (M.grandiflora), is a native ever green single trunked tree that can grow as tall as 90 feet, though it is usually a good bit shorter. It is hardy though it may survive farther north if grown in a sheltered location. It has huge, glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant white flowers that can be as large as a foot across. Its seeds pods, which open in fall to reveal red seeds, are also ornamental.

Magnolia normally like full sun except in the situation described above, and except for southern magnolia, which is fairly shade tolerant. All like fertile, loose, well drained soil that is rich in organic matter, with a slightly acid pH. Magnolias do not transplant easily and should be planted balled and bur lapped in spring. The roots are shallow, and care should be taken when cultivating around them. Moreover keep the soil moist while the trees are becoming established, and mulch them. Magnolia scale can be treated with a dormant oil spray. Magnolias do not respond well to pruning because the wounds do not heal easily. But any dead or diseased wood should be removed. Remove water sprouts,, suckers and any undesirable branches while they are small, if possible, pruning softer flowering in early summer. Spent blossoms can be removed for better bloom the following year, but usually magnolias bloom prolifically on their own. The shorter kinds can be trained to one trunk or allowed to be shrub like.  

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