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November 11, 2017
I have a tulip magnolia tree that has a dozen or more blooms on it. I don’t remember
it blooming and putting out new leaves last fall. Is that normal? I sure don’t remember
this tree blooming until early spring.
We have had some very unusual weather. I would not be surprised to see other errant
blooms coming on some spring blooming plants. We were so hot and dry in September
and early October, that some plants shut down early. Then we got some rain, cold
weather and then it appeared to be spring again. The plants are confused. A few
of the blooms will open, but hopefully just a few, and you will have a normal display
March 4, 2017
I have two fairly large tulip trees in my yard and they were so pretty early this
year but the blooms did not last long at all. I don’t think the cold got them, but
what do you think happened and how can I extend their flowering next year?
You are not alone. Many tulip magnolia trees bloomed two-three weeks ahead of schedule
this year, and that coupled with temperatures nearing 80 for several days in a row,
had their bloom schedule on warp speed. It seemed they were here today and gone tomorrow.
I also think the heavy rains and wind following the warm spell hastened their bloom
shed. There are some later blooming varieties with a deeper purple color which bloom
two weeks later than the original tulip magnolia and they still have blooms on them.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do about the weather to keep them blooming
May 21, 2016
I have a Japanese tulip tree. It is several years old and I have two bushes from
the root and have cut all the other shoots off. Would it be better to cut the smaller
shoot off and let the larger shoot grow stronger?
It depends how far away the two shoots are. Many tulip magnolia trees have multiple
trunks, but you need to make sure they are far enough apart that they won’t rub against
each other and cause permanent damage. If you prefer a singled trunk tree, then keep
the sprouts pruned out, as new ones will appear annually.
Our newest addition to our yard is a 3' tall Saucer Magnolia. It is growing in full
sun, no shade, and I planted it in late October. I noticed yesterday that it just
started budding fresh blooms on almost every branch. Is this common to bloom this
late in the season and in its first year? As a general tree question, when is too
early to prune a young tree?
The buds of all spring blooming magnolias are quite visible in late summer, but hopefully
they aren’t blooming. If you do have flowers, they probably didn’t last long with
the cold temperatures. Spring blooming saucer or tulip magnolias (Magnolia soulangiana)
set their flower buds in August or early September. These buds typically open in early
spring. Newer varieties tend to open a bit later than the original saucer magnolias,
but all can be susceptible to a late frost. We had a number of spring blooming plants
with a few blooms this fall due to our eratic weather, but hopefully you will have
more in the spring. As to when to prune a tree, age really isn’t a factor. Knowing
what the expected outcomes are and solving problems when you find them should happen
at any age.
I was inspecting a house in Eureka Springs this week and saw this cluster on a tree
that I never noticed before. I was told it was a magnolia tree, but it didn't have
the glossy leaves. I couldn’t find it in my tree book. What are your thoughts?
I think it is a slightly deformed seed pod on a Magnolia soulangiana--the tulip or
saucer magnolia. It should have light pink to purple flowers in the spring before
the foliage. This magnolia is deciduous, losing its leaves every fall, thus it doesn’t
have the thick, glossy leaves of the evergreen Magnolia grandiflora.
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