Michelia Alba

jayorbonAugust 29, 2009

I have a Michalia Alba in a sunken bed in a court yard in San Jose CA. This is Sunset zone 14, USDA zone 9B. The court yard faces west but the tree is blocked from western sun by the house. It gets direct sun from about 8:00 am to about 12:30 PM. The sunken bed is 18" deep and is full of potting mix containg mostly organics with about 15% sand. The tree is about 4 years old and is about 12 feet high. It blooms well and the leaves do not get sun burn. During cold snaps the leaves do get some burn. It is on a drip system with hard wate, about 300ppm Ca, but the leaves do not get much tip damage.

How tall will my tree get?

Can I prune it into an "umbrella shape" at the 15" level to keep it below the the roof line?

Thank you for the inputs,


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don't know about m. alba but i have pruned my m. figo into the shape you describe and it has responded well. i took off lower branches up to about 4' and have not had to cut back the top. don't see why you could not do that but this usually stimulates the shrub to produce more lateral growth near the area that was cut.
my shrub is older than yours and is about 15' tall.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 12:03PM
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From what I've heard, M. alba doesn't get over 20-25' outside the tropics, so your local climate may keep your tree at the right size for you, particularly as conditions change at roof level. If you need to prune, don't remove too much at once, michelias, aside from the shrubby ones like M. figo, don't take well to hard pruning. Spring is the usual time to prune magnolias, but check with local growers to see what they think.

Enjoy the blooms!


    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 10:00AM
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Thanks for the inputs.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 9:30PM
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I live in San Francisco, Ca. I have a michelia albra tree growing in my backyard for almost 30 years and it is about 30 feet tall and each year it blooms a lot of very fragrant flowers. My tree is so tall that I can not cut the top branches at all. As I heard that the michelia alba tree can not stand pruning or cutting to much at one time. If you want to cut, do it on Oct or Nov.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 4:24PM
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