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

Thursday - July 07, 2011

From: Springtown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Trees
Title: Propagating magnolias from Springtown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am trying to find out how to plant Magnolia tree seeds and what has to be done with them prior to planting, if anything and what type of soil to use.

ANSWER:

There are 3 magnolias native to Texas: Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia), Magnolia pyramidata (Pyramid magnolia), and Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay). Parker County is in the Blackland Prairie of Texas, and you can read the list of plants recommended for that area, although the list contains no magnolias. Here is a description of the soils in that area:

"The Blackland Prairies area intermingles with the Post Oak Savannah in the southeast and has divisions known as the San Antonio and Fayette Prairies. This rolling and well-dissected prairie represents the southern extension of the true prairie that occurs from Texas to Canada. The upland blacklands are dark, calcareous shrink-swell clayey soils, changing gradually with depth to light marls or chalks. Bottomland soils are generally reddish brown to dark gray, slightly acid to calcareous, loamy to clayey and alluvial. The soils are inherently productive and fertile, but many have lost productivity through erosion and continuous cropping."

The soil description for Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia) is:

"Soil Description: Rich, porous, acid soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous"

According to this Plant Profile Map for that tree, it grows mostly in East Texas, where the soils are more acidic, but Parker County is not far from that area, so it's worth a try.

From our webpage on Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia), we suggest you read the whole page), here are the Propagation Instructions:

"Propagation

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 comes 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"

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, porous, acid soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous
Conditions Comments: Southern magnolia is a relatively fast-growing tree. It casts a dark shade, making underplanting difficult. Prune after blooming during the growing season because dormant magnolias do not easily heal. Fallen leaves are messy and never seem to decompose. They can be chopped with a rotary mower and blown back under the branches to recycle nutients. Must be given protection from winter winds and sun in northern part of its range. Relatively pest free. Seedlings are quite sensitive to frost."

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

More Trees Questions

Small flowering tree for cemetery in TX
November 07, 2010 - I am looking for a native large shrub or small tree to plant at a cemetery in Pflugerville, TX, preferable something with flowers. I need something that won't have a large root system that would dis...
view the full question and answer

Trees starting to die in subdivision in Hutto, TX
May 31, 2012 - I live in Hutto Tx, in a subdivision where everyone has the 2 trees planted in the front yard. My trees have started to die, and I want to find out what kind they are to find a solution
view the full question and answer

Relocating native oak trees in compacted soil
September 14, 2008 - Can you replant and relocate small oak trees in compacted soil and will they grow or go into shock?
view the full question and answer

Best dogwood to plant in Dallas GA
June 13, 2010 - I am interested in how to select the best dogwood (Flowering) tree to plant in Dallas, GA 30157. The location receives full sun, the soil is typical GA clay/?. I found a list of 20+ Dogwood trees on...
view the full question and answer

Removing Texas cedar Juniperus ashei from Blanco River banks
February 26, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Should cedar trees be removed from our Blanco River banks to prevent them from sucking too much of our precious water before it makes it into the river system? If so, what s...
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