City Trees

May/June 2023

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40 CityTREES Adequate soil volume is critical to its success; thus it does best in parks, wide tree lawns, and other expansive settings. A vast root system and vulnerability to transplant shock can make it challenging to transplant. Storms and other weather events can potentially cause damage to the tree. Also, too much water can be det- rimental to the Southern magnolia's health. Even with these caveats, the Southern magnolia is a gorgeous tree species that once estab- lished, can thrive in the city. In Louisiana, you can find it growing in parks, gardens, and even on the side of the road. If used near sidewalks, it will require pruning of lower limbs over time. Structural pruning of young trees can eliminate branches with tight crotch angles that are prone to breakage. Some people object to the fruit "litter" of this monoecious tree, but the fruit/ seeds are popular with birds including doves, woodpeckers and wild turkeys, providing them food and ideal cover. Numerous cultivars are available for specific forms, improved cold har- diness, or enhanced ornamental attributes. Aggregate fruit of Southern magnolia with exposed seeds. Photo by Pmsyyz, Magnolia grandiflora, Omeka@CTL, accessed April 24, 2023. Young tree habit of Southern magnolia. Photo from Cornell Woody Plants Database Underside of the leaves. Photo from Cornell Woody Plants Database

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