Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Tuesday - September 22, 2009

From: Johnsburg, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagating a new tree from a magnolia in Johnsburg IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My friend would like to reroot her magnolia tree in her front yard to bring it with her to Memphis. The tree is huge and easiest to reroot if possible. Does she trim branches to root, or dry the seeds on the branches?

ANSWER:

We hope your friend realizes that it is going to be a long time before any offspring, whether from seeds or cuttings, is going to approach the size of the mature magnolia she has now. She might decide to purchase commercially a young tree and have it planted by a tree specialist. We are assuming you are referring to Memphis TN, so we would recommend Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia), which is not native to Illinois, but is to Tennessee. 

If, for sentimental reasons, she really wants to take some of that tree with her, here are the Propagation Instructions for a magnolia.

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 cones 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

Obviously, you don't cut off a whole branch to root, the semi-hardwood cuttings are the best route to take. It may be too late in the season to take those cuttings, but it is worth a try.There are several different stages at which cuttings may be taken, and you should urge your friend to take some of each kind to help ensure that one survives to grow at her new home. The best instructions we have found for taking stem cuttings are from this North Carolina State University website Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings. 

Pictures from our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia grandiflora

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Cold hardiness of Liatris bulbs
October 05, 2009 - I live in Lexington KY - This spring I planted Liatris or Blazing Stars. Should I take up the bulbs and replant in spring or leave them in the ground?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Eve's Necklace from Round Mountain TX
April 16, 2013 - We have dozens of small Eve's necklace plants coming up in our large yard. I would like to share them with my friends who aren't so lucky. Many years ago, I tried to transplant one, and it didn't...
view the full question and answer

Adventitious sprouts on oak tree in Austin
April 26, 2010 - Hello, I have an Oak tree which was planted in about 2002, which has adventitious sprouts. The tree has always sent these up, and we cut them off below ground. The tree has always been a 'runt', b...
view the full question and answer

Source for dotted blue-eyed grass from Saluda SC
February 23, 2013 - I lived in Texas for several years and now live on acreage in South Carolina. I have heard that bluebonnets don't grow well in South Carolina. However, there is a place by the road near our house t...
view the full question and answer

Germination of Passiflora suberosa in Monterrey Mexico
October 26, 2009 - Hello, I need recommendation on how to germinate Passiflora seeds. I have a Passiflora suberosa plant, not on your database but native, and have fresh fuits of it. They look very much like a blueber...
view the full question and answer

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