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?


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

Wednesday - October 12, 2005

From: Covington, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Possibility of saving hurricane-damaged Umbrella Magnolia
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


Our beautiful umbrella magnolia Magnoliaceae Magnolia tripetala was toppled during Hurricane Katrina. We have lifted it back in place, however it looks very distressed. I have the following questions: 1. Can it be saved? 2. Can I produce a cutting from the existing tree? 3. Can this tree still be purchased? 4. help!


We are very sorry about your Umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala).

1. The major factor in saving your tree is how much of the root ball remained intact when it toppled. If it still has most of its roots, it has a good chance of surviving; but you need to trim it back—HARD! Other factors that could affect its survival is the age of the tree, its health before the hurricane toppled it, and length of time the roots were exposed.

2. You can propagate by seeds or by rooting from shoots. The Botany.com web page describes how this can be done.

3. We have found a couple of nurseries, Overhill Gardens, in Vonore, Tennessee and NWN Nursery in Chipley, Florida that show Magnolia tripetala in their current catalogs. There are probably others in your area. You can visit the National Suppliers Directory in the Native Plant Information Network to search for nurseries that specialize in native plants in your area.

4. Finally, here is an excellent web page with Links: Information about Magnolias. Best of luck with your umbrella magnolia.

More Trees Questions

Life expectancy for Carolina buckthorn (Frangula caroliniana)
February 25, 2008 - Someone recently told me that Carolina buckthorn only lives 4-5 years and I'm wondering if that is true. I had a nice one (on Blackland) that died suddenly in its fourth or fifth year, during the dr...
view the full question and answer

Leafing out problems with oaks in Towson MD
June 02, 2012 - 3 native 5-year-old oaks kept old leaves until March and are not leafing by the end of May. The few leaves that have emerged are shriveled. WHAT'S WRONG?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mexican Olive tree from Edinburg TX
October 06, 2013 - My Mexican olive (anacahuita) shows no obvious signs of pest or disease, but over the last years has more and more dead limbs and smaller and smaller leaves. It's in a yard with a sprinkler system t...
view the full question and answer

Western soapberry dropping leaves in San Antonio
June 03, 2013 - My Western Soapberry tree (China berry?) Suddenly started dropping full, perfectly healthy green, leaf units. Now half the tree is turning yellow. There is a second tree in the yard not far from this ...
view the full question and answer

Will wood shavings in the soil require nitrogen from Charleston MO
May 04, 2011 - I cut down a big maple tree and a lot of the wood shavings was left in the soil. I planted a flower bed over the area this spring. I later read that the wood chips in the soil would use a lot of nitro...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center