Saturday, July 23, 2011

Native Magnolia Trees of Georgia

There are so many native trees in Georgia, but perhaps the south is best known for their magnolias. These magnolia trees all provide broad thick leaves and traditional magnolia blooms brimming with scent. These five magnolia trees are all good selections for your landscape.

Magnolia acuminata (L.) L. (Cucumber-tree, Tulipastrum acuminatum, Tulipastrum cordatum)
This magnolia is so named because its fruit looks like a cucumber. It reaches a height and a spread of 50 to 80 feet. A fast grower with wide branches, it prefers full sun or partial shade. Its fragrant green white flowers will appear in spring and come fall will have yellow bronze color.

Magnolia macrophylla Michx. (Bigleaf Magnolia)
Living up to its name, this magnolia has waxy leaves ranging from 20 to 30 inches, with whitish hairs underneath. It reaches a height of 40 feet and a spread of 15 feet. Fruits are large, similar to cones, and its flowers are fragrant and white appearing April to May. It is a slow grower and has a straight trunk. It prefers sun or partial shade. Bigleaf magnolia is a highly ornamental tree.

Magnolia pyramidata Bartr. (Pyramid Magnolia)
This deciduous tree gets up to 30 feet high and has a spread of 25 feet. Its leaves are eight to 10 inches long and offset its three to five inch long white flowers. It has a high heat tolerance and thin grey/brown bark.

Magnolia tripetala (L.) L. (Umbrella Magnolia, Umbrella-tree)
With one to two foot diamond shaped leaves, the umbrella tree really is a canopied marvel. It gets up to 40 feet tall and has a 20 to 30 foot spread. It will have several trunks and large showy flowers that are typical to the magnolia taxa. Its cone-like fruit will mature in August or September and is pollinated by beetles. This magnolia prefers partial shade or full shade and is not drought tolerant. An ornamental favorite for any garden, this tree will do you proud.

Magnolia virginiana L. (Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia)
A slow-growing evergreen tree, this magnolia species can grow from 50 to 100 feet. It produces spectacular white flowers from April to July and will have red fruits from July to October.  It will do perfectly in a partly shady spot in your landscape. Two-thirds of all magnolia wood is used for furniture, but it is also used for Popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, and broom handles.  It is important forage for deer and cattle, making up 25% of their diet in the winter.

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