Return to the Shrubs Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Small compact magnolia for 6' area

Posted by cadillactaste zone 5 Ohio (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 17:16

I have a flower bed that is 6' wide and quite long. I love magnolias. Can one keep a smaller variety pruned without it looking butchered in such a flower bed?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 18:30

Not really.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

What limits the width to 6'? Is it a building and walkway, for instance ,which really do limit the width, or is there lawn or something else where if the plant grows a bit wider, it's OK?


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

No...it's the lake road and opposite is our sidewalk. The length is the length of the house. It's far enough away from our walnut tree in the backyard. It isn't able to go in the backyard due to juglone issues. Guess it's just not in the cards. Love it's blooms...just may have to venture into getting a bonsai version of this tree. Where juglone isn't an issue.

Thanks...I was sort of figured this would be a no. I seen one that got 8-10 feet wide. Wasn't sure if it would become butchered when pruned hard.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 3:10

A mania for cutting back star magnolias seems to have taken hold around here lately, with awful results.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

See...I don't wish to make anything look unnatural...so it will be passed on. Thanks a lot for helping steer me in the right direction.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

There are several small growing fastigiate magnolia varieties - "Golden Gift" is one that has done very well for me. Fairweather Gardens, Rarefind Nursery, and The Magnolia Society are good sources of information.

The problem with using a magnolia in a bed is that they do not take kindly to disturbance around their roots. If your proposed bed is large enough so you not need to plant other things overly close, there's no reason to give up on having a magnolia.Judicious pruning does not have to result in a butchered look, either and would not be needed for many years if you choose the right variety.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

I too was going to mention M. 'Golden Gift' or 'Golden Spire'. If you plant a groundcover around their roots, they would work, I think.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

hey!!! ...

do i recall some discussions last year about a total garden overhaul ... and trying to move some gigantic shrubs.. etc ...

how about an update on the retro??? .... in a new post ... or pull up the old post.. if you can recall the title ....

as to this ... NOTHING stops growing at some magical height ... its all about annual growth .. and how fast it reaches and surpasses any claimed height... in our world.. most size estimates are at 10 years .... and at 20.. you can expect twice as big.. if left to their own devices... not a hard and fast rule... but a concept to be kept in mind ...

i usually think to myself.. that things near a road.. need to be plow proof.. or salt proof ... and i dont think of mags as plow proof .... but i dont know if that is an issue for you locale ....

ken


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, May 2, 14 at 13:21

I seriously doubt that any Magnolia acuminata hybrid is going to remain less than 6 ft. wide over time.

No matter what commercial literature or any other depictions based on immature specimens say.

Deciduous magnolias bloom on the tips of the previous year's shoots, so any cutting back of outermost growth results in loss of flowers where those cuts have been made.

Traditionally with hardy deciduous magnolias the smallest ones grow over 10-15 ft. across - for all practical purposes there really just isn't a small magnolia, as meant by those asking for a shrub instead of a tree.

The closest thing will be Magnolia liliiflora, small examples - probably sometimes of some age - are common. Yet otherwise this becomes a large shrub, well beyond 6 ft. across.

In my area there are multiples of correctly identified star magnolias over 20 ft. tall; this species has been known much bigger still in the wild. So, it doesn't have anything to do with me being in Zone 8. Doubtless similarly sized ones are present in old enough plantings in colder climates back East.

The hybrids between the two also reach some size in time. I have seen examples at an experiment station in Oregon that could be used for summer shade.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, May 2, 14 at 13:22

I seriously doubt that any Magnolia acuminata hybrid is going to remain less than 6 ft. wide over time.

No matter what commercial literature or any other depictions based on immature specimens say.

Deciduous magnolias bloom on the tips of the previous year's shoots, so any cutting back of outermost growth results in loss of flowers where those cuts have been made.

Traditionally with hardy deciduous magnolias the smallest ones grow over 10-15 ft. across - for all practical purposes there really just isn't a small magnolia, as meant by those asking for a shrub instead of a tree.

The closest thing will be Magnolia liliiflora, small examples - probably sometimes of some age - are common. Yet otherwise this becomes a large shrub, well beyond 6 ft. across.

In my area there are multiples of correctly identified star magnolias over 20 ft. tall; this species has been known much bigger still in the wild. So, it doesn't have anything to do with me being in Zone 8. Doubtless similarly sized ones are present in old enough plantings in colder climates back East.

The hybrids between the two also reach some size in time. I have seen examples at an experiment station in Oregon that could be used for summer shade.

Here is a link that might be useful: The U.S. National Arboretum presents eight hybrid magnolia cultivars affectionately known as ''The Girls.''


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

Ken...we don't use salt at the private lake. Controversy of salt getting into the lake water. So they use some sort of ash.

Large shrub still in old spot. My husband investigated the roots and decided it was more than he wanted to tackle. I believe you suggested getting a nursery tree...and he agreed.

I also did update an old post on needing help on our two story gazebo. Loved how the lattice turned out. Going to plant vine on it this spring...nurseries were sold out of the silver lace I wanted to put there. (Dog friendly non toxic)

Looking at ones magnolias as I drove around the past few days...I just can't see that being a wise choice. Now...I do have a flowering purple plum that is 17 years old out in the front yard. Maybe when it's given up I will replace it with a magnolia. Right now...it's still going strong...but learned they have a life span of 12-20 years.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, May 2, 14 at 16:29

That would be a supposed average life span in unsuitable climates - in other words they are tending to die young in those areas. Elsewhere (such as here, where they are all over the place) they can become quite large, with comparatively big trunks, and be MUCH older than 20 years.


 o
RE: Small compact magnolia for 6' area

I would LOVE for ours to last longer than 20 years...it was planted on when my son was born. The nursery never said there was a lifespan.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Shrubs Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here