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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.

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

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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

QUESTION:

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!

ANSWER:

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.
 

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