Return to the Trees Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' or 'Henry Hicks'

Posted by marcindy z5b (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 13, 09 at 21:48

The information regarding height and especially spread of those two cultivars seem to be all over the place depending on which site you look at. I want to plant a cultivar that is more upright, narrow growing, as my side yard is only about 20 feet wide. Ideally it should not exceed 10 to 12 feet in diameter. The final height is less important. Does anyone grow either cultivar of sweetbay and can give me some idea of how tall and wide they grow?
Also, is there a big difference in the color of the blossoms or the fragrance?

Thanks!
Marc


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Magnolia virginiana 'Jim Wilson' (Moonglow) or 'Henry Hicks'

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 16, 09 at 11:59

Marc,

A variety of factors go into the variation you see in the size estimates. Growing conditions (climate, soil, etc) can make a large difference. The exact same tree grown in different areas may perform very differently. Another factor is rootstock. Since these cultivars are typically grafted, their performance may vary quite a bit because of different rootstock. Still another factor is how the "mature" size is determined. Different sources base their figures on different ages. Some note the age at which they use to base their figures, while others just give height and spread.

After saying all this, the general consensus of average performance from multiple sites comes down near a height range between 35'-50' and a spread between 15'-20' for both 'Jim Wilson' (Moonglow) and 'Henry Hicks'. I can't tell where you are located, but based on the hardiness zone you give, I'd think you might experience sizes closer to the lower end to middle of the size estimates.


 o
RE: Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' or 'Henry Hicks'

  • Posted by picea 6A Cinci- Oh (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 16, 09 at 12:07

Marc,

I don't think size will be an issue for either but I would recommend Moonglow for proven hardiness. There also can be issues with Getting the actual 'Henry Hicks'. I have been told that some of the plants being sold as Henry Hicks may be seedlings. I had a plant that was suppose to be Henry Hicks and by the end of the winter the leaves looked terrible.

David


 o
RE: Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' or 'Henry Hicks'

Hey Brandon and David, thanks for your comments. I live in Indianapolis (hence the indy part of my name). Our soil is clay, holds water well. The specific site for the magnolia has well amended soil from all the leaves and grass clippings I have composted there. I figured a sweetbay magnolia would probably stay at the lower end of the height ranges, I agree with you Brandon. Ultimate height is also less important to me as is ultimate spread. It's ironic, just yesterday I stopped by a small strip mall near my house and they have planted a dozen or so sweetbay's around the parking area and the shops. The mall is about 15 years old or so, and the trees look about the same age. They are pretty close in size and spread to what I had in mind, more upright-oval, not wide-spreading. I think, after having seen them, I don't need to worry about a swwetbay magnolia in my yard outgrowing it's space anytime soon.

As for hardiness, I guess I will go with the Jim Wilson (Moonglow) variety, it also seems to be easier to find.
Thanks again, guys.
Marc


 o
RE: Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' or 'Henry Hicks'

First time here. I was a landscaper and because of the economy am now again. I have planted both for customers but I'll preface my comments with the fact that one shouldn't expect a plant to behave as expected until it is established. I've planted young HH that nearly defoliated the first winter but each successive winter retained more and more leaves. I've seen discoloration due to lots of sun reflectance off of persistent snow. Otherwise this is an outstanding plant whose only knocks are that it's slower growing and somewhat hard to propagate leading to its diminished availability. There's is a 30' specimen on the edge of a pine woodland at the Bernheim Arboretum south of Louisville that is to die for. It is very old since I first saw it as a 20 footer in the mid to late 80's. It has lots of leaves at this time as I saw it recently and when in bloom has flowers poking out all over it. Needless to say the scent was wonderful. This tree is single-trunked and that is key to the spread issue. This tree could not be over 10-12' in spread. I have seen this tree the morning after two straight -20 nights and the foliage was unblemished even with the north winds howling through that place.

I have used Moonglow to a lesser extent because hardiness and leaf retention are two separate issues. A mild winter and you may not notice the difference. You will notice that it is touted in its marketing by being bud hardy but not as being evergreen--that's a clue. I prefer HH but it is less available. I have noticed that MG grows more quickly and does flower more when even 3 footers can have several blooms. It also seems distinctly upright. There is one problem that i have noticed and that is that container plants of either have sometimes been in the container too long and have circling or twisted roots. These are usually multi-trunked and the roots are fleshy and hard to straighten out without breaking them. The subsequent growth can mirror the underground growth and when you site them against a wall or treeline, can spread to the sunlight. I have seen 20' spreads. I would check the container for the roots and shop for single trunks or distinctly upright growing young plants. Hard not to recommend sweetbays especially HH because they never have been a size problem for me and ultimately they are so rewarding.


 o
RE: Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' or 'Henry Hicks'

"Another factor is rootstock. Since these cultivars are typically grafted, their performance may vary quite a bit because of different rootstock" - Wouldn't sweetbay typically be propagated by cuttings?

Is it safe to say that Moonglow would have the edge over Henry Hicks in hardiness, and be the better choice in northern areas (MI)? Anyone have experience with the variety called Northern Belle?

Here's a previous thread on the hardiness of Moonglow:
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/trees/msg1209235020893.html


 o
RE: Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' or 'Henry Hicks'

I know of no grafted M.virginiana cultivars since the species sprouts readily from the base especially if the leader is cut/damaged. Most are grown from cuttings and some are from tissue culture if they are hard to root commercially.

As far as whether MG has an edge in hardiness, I can't say because I don't believe that HH's has been quantified like Mr. �ully did when he introduced MG. Ned's Northern Belle is one that I am going to try here this spring along side of the other two. What is available locally is a standard easy to root totally deciduous sweetbay. They're not cheap and I can't work with them. NNB was reported to be hardy to a slightly lower temp than MG but retains its leaves at far lower temps. Either would seem to be a good choice for you arbordave. I seek the evergreen quality but if you are looking for hardiness, all three and especially MG and NNB should work.


 o
RE: Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' or 'Henry Hicks'

I have a Northern Belle that I picked up from Arborvillage about 5 years ago. Here in the Kansas City metro area, it is a very narrow growing tree. Mine is currently about 15 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

I have not found it to be a heavy bloomer but the blooms are fragrant. Many of the leaves are held over the winter, but they are pretty sad looking by spring.


 o
RE: Magnolia virginiana 'Moonglow' or 'Henry Hicks'

Moonglow is reliably hardy in So Ohio but not reliably evergreen. Modest winters, like 2012-13 our production held foliage most of winter and didn't brown out until very late. I would like to grow Northern Belle as it is frequently requested and I have seen nice evergreen examples planted out but for us (in container production) we lost entire crops overwinter 2 different years to what appeared to be frost canker. This along side Moonglow which was not damaged at all.


 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 Trees 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