En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - September 22, 2009

From: Johnsburg, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagating a new tree from a magnolia in Johnsburg IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My friend would like to reroot her magnolia tree in her front yard to bring it with her to Memphis. The tree is huge and easiest to reroot if possible. Does she trim branches to root, or dry the seeds on the branches?

ANSWER:

We hope your friend realizes that it is going to be a long time before any offspring, whether from seeds or cuttings, is going to approach the size of the mature magnolia she has now. She might decide to purchase commercially a young tree and have it planted by a tree specialist. We are assuming you are referring to Memphis TN, so we would recommend Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia), which is not native to Illinois, but is to Tennessee. 

If, for sentimental reasons, she really wants to take some of that tree with her, here are the Propagation Instructions for a magnolia.

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagation methods include the use of fresh seed sown in fall, stratified seed, or wounded, semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer. The seed of evergreen magnolias seems to germinate more quickly than that of the deciduous varieties.
Seed Collection: Gather as soon as cones drop or the red seeds appear. When ripe, the seeds are bright red, fleshy, oily, soft on the outside and stony on the inside. Clean and store in moist sand or sphagnum moss in refrigerator. Cold, moist storage also serves at stratification.
Seed Treatment: Stored seed must be kept moist and cool which will also serve as stratification. Stratify at least 60 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Maintain moist soil, Remove dead growth, Prevent complete soil dryness, Do not prune lower limbs & leaves, Fertilize in spring, mid-season & fall with azalea/camellia-type fertilizer

Obviously, you don't cut off a whole branch to root, the semi-hardwood cuttings are the best route to take. It may be too late in the season to take those cuttings, but it is worth a try.There are several different stages at which cuttings may be taken, and you should urge your friend to take some of each kind to help ensure that one survives to grow at her new home. The best instructions we have found for taking stem cuttings are from this North Carolina State University website Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings. 

Pictures from our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia grandiflora

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Starting Venus Flytrap From Seed
September 05, 2013 - I am a high school student doing a project on the Venus flytrap and would like you to help me by answering the following questions: What are the Venus flytrap predators and prey? How to raise a Venus ...
view the full question and answer

Planting iris rhizomes in Wisconsin
October 10, 2008 - I live in central WI and was given some iris bulbs (think they are called Rhizomes) and have no idea how to go about planting them. I am very new to planting so step by step instructions with good de...
view the full question and answer

Planting time for California poppies in Colorado
May 25, 2008 - I live in Colorado and planted California Poppies in my front yard at the end of April. I read that I probably should have planted them in the fall. There have sprouted a little but they don't seem t...
view the full question and answer

Plants that will grow under a magnolia tree.
April 14, 2010 - We live in California near San Diego and have a Magnolia Tree. We have tried to plant many types of flowers around the tree only to have them die. Is there a particular type of plant that we should ...
view the full question and answer

Best place for picking wildflowers in Austin
February 14, 2014 - Where is the best place to find wildflowers for picking near or in Austin around the end of March?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center