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

Plants for under non-native fruitless mullberry trees from Ft. Worth TX
June 28, 2012 - I live in Tarrant county, where summer droughts are the norm. I have a 150x50 foot swathe of mature "fruitless mulberry" trees, which create a very shady atmosphere. The soil is clay dominated, ro...
view the full question and answer

Sprouts from Live Oak in Austin
April 06, 2011 - I have an Escarpment Live Oak..quercus fusiformis.? I get tired of all the sprouts that come up around this tree..My yard person wants to pull them up or get a roto tiller after them..? I had been t...
view the full question and answer

Graywater with soap on trees and shrubs from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I previously asked you about using rinse water from our top loading washer to water trees and flowers. I have two more questions: Can I use the soapy water to water trees and shrubs? Then I get...
view the full question and answer

Affect of poisonous plant roots in soils for vegetables from Rusk TX
May 11, 2013 - I have a huge old flowerbed in front of my house that I want to plant veggies in, but I'm afraid to. It has a catalpa tree there, which I sell the worms from, but the entire tree (bark, leaves, flowe...
view the full question and answer

Distance from existing structures to plant a tree in New York
March 05, 2009 - I would like to plant a large maple or birch near my suburban home. How far away from my home, garage, or any buildings should the seed be planted?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center