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

Wednesday - March 16, 2011

From: Chevy Chase, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Native magnolias in MD
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We live in Chevy Chase MD. Three tulip magnolias planted three years ago as part of a hedge died during the blizzard conditions we experienced the winter following their planting. This year as well we have had record snow and cold weather. Our landscape architect is suggesting we replace the tulips with magnolia virginiana. I want to know if these shrubs are winter hardy enough to survive in our climate. Thank you in advance.

ANSWER:

The trouble with common names is that they can refer to more than one plant, so I am not sure whether your "tulip magnolia" is our native Liriodendron tulipifera (Tuliptree) or Magnolia liliiflora which is a native of Aisa.  Either one should have been hardy enough to survive in your cllimate.

That being said Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay), is a great choice for a replacement and we agree heartily with your landscape architect. If you are replacing the Asian magnolia, you will have a trouble free tree that is native to your ecosytem.  If it is the larger "tulip popar", you will have a smaller, multistemmed tree whose form is more suited to a hedgerow and whose beautiful, delicately fragrant blooms and ornamental fruit are close enough to the ground to be appreciated.

If you check the USDA Range Map for Sweetbay magnolia you will see that it has quite a broad range and it is hardy in Zones 5-8.  Depending on the winter and the cultivar you select, it will be deciduous to semi-evergreen.

Go for it!


Magnolia virginiana


Magnolia virginiana


Magnolia virginiana

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Escarpment Black Cherry losing leaves in Austin, TX.
July 13, 2012 - Dear Mr. Plants: We live in Austin off of Mount Bonnell Road. We have beautiful 20 foot tall + black escarpment cherry tree very near the house with leaves turning yellow like it's about to drop th...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for shade in Ennis TX
August 26, 2011 - My house faces south. The southwest side of the front yard has a Pride of Houston, Japanese Barberry, 2 crape myrtles and some dwarf yaupon hollies. The other section, divided by a stairway to the p...
view the full question and answer

Disagreement with HOA on raised beds placed beneath mature oak from Tequesta FL
April 05, 2014 - I have mature 30 year old oak trees on my property and I put a raised bed under each with very good soil and I used pavers for retaining the soil about about 1.5 ft high. I planted a perennial begonia...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of 4-year-old redbud in Rochester, NY
May 20, 2009 - I planted a redbud four years ago and it still hasn't flowered - it does get the lovely leaves. When I planted it it was only an 18 inch stick. How long before it will bloom or is something wrong?
view the full question and answer

Leaves falling off recently transplanted mature Mountain Laurel
July 05, 2006 - I have recently purchased a Mountain Laurel for my backyard landscaping. It is a fully matured ML standing over 9 feet tall by 6 feet wide. Since it was planted (about 6 weeks ago) it has been losin...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center