Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - February 04, 2012

From: Voorhees, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Buds disappearing from magnolia in New Jersey
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in New Jersey.I planted my 5.gal Vulcan magnolia in December. It came with 4 big buds and 3 small buds.I planted in good location where it gets lots of sun. The tree is well settled and looked healthy. Everyday I look at the tree and make sure the buds were fine. Yesterday when I looked at my Vulcan, I couldn't see the big buds and I didn't see them fallen on the ground, either. Is it natural or somebody did it on purpose? I was waiting for the spring to see the first blooms. As spring is just few weeks away and now I can't see the blooms this year. I'm so upset and disappointed. Will the small buds bloom this spring or do I need to wait until next spring? Can somebody get back to me with an answer?

ANSWER:

We can't speculate on whether you have magnolia vandals, the possibility never occurred to us. Do you have deer in your area? We hear from many people who are constantly having trouble with deer eating everything in sight. If the browsing pickings for deer otherwise were pretty slim, they might have thought a magnolia bud would be a tasty snack. If the tree was right on a sidewalk or close to a street, there is always the possibility of a human browser, but we can't think what they would do with the bud.

So, we'll try to find some other possibilities. We had not heard of a "Vulcan" magolia, so we went web-surfing to see what we could learn. The first thing that we learned is that the variety 'Vulcan" was hybridized by Felix Jury of New Zealand. Its parentage is M. campbellii var. mollicomata 'Lanarth' x M. liliflora hybrid, none of which are native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and Mr. Smarty Plants are dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection to plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they grow naturally. No members of the Magnolia genus in the many plants that have been hybridized to make this plant appear in our Native Plant Database.

There are 8 members of the Magnolia genus native to North America, 3 are native to New Jersey. They are: Magnolia acuminata (Cucumbertree), Magnolia tripetala (Umbrella tree), and Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay). About the only clue we got on the problems you have had with your tree buds is this statement from  BackyardGardener.com   which includes this statement: "Flowers in early spring so it must be sheltered from frost and winds. It is often grafted on to different root stock for earlier maturing plants."

Because we are unfamiliar with the habits of this hybrid, we can't tell you if you will get blossoms from the tree this year. It could be suffering from transplant shock, which is quite common. A well-planted tree, which it sounds like yours is, will survive but may very well not bloom for the first or even the first two or three years.

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Tree removal from Austin
November 18, 2013 - Unfortunately we need to cut down a Spanish oak (11" diameter, over 50 feet tall) that is leaning against our upper story deck (if it falls, the roof, deck, and steel supports may be crushed). A lim...
view the full question and answer

Tree with stilt roots for Louisiana bog garden
February 07, 2013 - Does Louisiana have any native trees with stilt roots? I would like one to go with my cypress and tupelo bog garden. I have several native plants such as spider lilies and blue flag irises, but I'm...
view the full question and answer

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

Shade trees for Spring TX
August 17, 2011 - Dear Mr.Pants, our west-facing backyard in Spring, Tx, is unbearable in this Summer's heat. Neither us nor the neighbors has any backyard trees established yet, as the subdivision is pretty new. C...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID in Flower Mound TX
June 23, 2009 - I have a large native tree in the back yard, leaves resembles a live oak, but evergreen,& small white flowers in the spring, very tall vase shaped tree. It had no acorns or berries.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.