DD Blanchard Magnolia In Austin

bjb817August 11, 2014

I know Southern Magnolia isn't generally recommended for our area, but I'm tempted to try one none the less. If I follow through, I'd want a larger variety. DD Blanchard has piqued my interest as there's several of them growing in my neighborhood that are probably about 10 years old and seem to be doing well. I've also read that this cultivar is faster growing and produced less leaf litter than the species. Anyone have experience or thoughts on this?

BTW, I'm in SW Austin. Our soil is a few feet of rocky clay before hitting bedrock. Perfect conditions for Magnolias, right? :^P

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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

How will the Magnolia do with the water restrictions that Austin is experiencing right now? Once a week watering and it could get worse if the Lakes don't get filled up soon.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:42PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

We have the same 6 or 7 ft of clay over limestone in our part of Dallas. The 30+ year old southern magnolia on our property line does fine with the bit of water it gets from the "as needed" (~weekly in summer) lawn watering on our side of the fence. Neighbors do not water at all. A beautiful tree that perpetually sheds a few (and seasonally a ton) of those rigid leaves, so assume it is not a DD Blanchard. You're a little warmer and drier than us, but bet it would not take an exorbitant amount of supplemental water to keep one healthy on or near the blackland prairie side of Austin once it's established. Maybe you could check with a neighbor that has one to see how much extra water they have been providing.

UT Dallas recently planted a double allée of 116 magnolia trees flanking a series of linear reflection pools. Figured the groundskeepers would stay busy keeping the pools clear of magnolia debris based on the amount of leaves our neighbor's tree sheds. Glad to learn they may have been able to use a "neater" cultivar.

This post was edited by bostedo on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 13:29

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:03PM
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I get the feeling that while they like water, they're not as big of hogs as people make them out to be. I'm just looking for confirmation...

My guess is the ones in the neighborhood just get their once a week allotted watering with the lawn and that's it.

It seem Magnolias in general are more prevalent in the DFW area, bostedo. I know you get a little bit more rain than we do up there. I guess that's the difference. It's certainly every bit as hot and it sounds like the soils aren't terribly different.

Any other thoughts?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:17AM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

My guess would be that the type of soil you have is the most significant factor. Much of Dallas proper sits on mildly alkaline blackland prairie clay with little limestone content other than where it has been disturbed.... and the magnolias do seem to like it. Sounds like you still have mostly clay, but more limestone - which implies a higher pH. This can cause some concerns mentioned in the linked article. However, if the neighbors have been growing healthy well developed trees for a decade on weekly lawn watering, seems like pretty low risk to plant one in your part of Austin.

Here is a link that might be useful: Magnolias and their care in the greater Austin area

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:30AM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Forgot to mention I agree they are not as bad water hogs (in the right locations) as their reputation seems to imply. Our neighbor's magnolia (which is only about 10ft from our house) receives less water from the lawn sprinklers than the Shumard oak, live oak, cedar elm, Chinese pistache, and crape myrtles that are on our lot (or property line) as well as the fruitless mulberries, redbuds, and sugar/hack berries it has outlived. It does seem to drop more leaves when dry, such as during the triple digit run of 2011, but has never looked "thin". So can believe it could do well in the moisture retaining clay soil parts of Austin as long as its roots can catch a weekly deep lawn watering.

Seems the real risk is how well it could survive compared with natives IF yard watering were ever banned for any length of time. Less sure about this as our trees have always received the "as needed" water required to keep the SA lawn alive. If shut off tomorrow, maybe the magnolia would be the first to go... after the St. Augustine.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 4:27PM
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In the drought in 2011, there were several fairly well established magnolias in my old neighborhood that either died or experienced significant die back where the people didn't water at all. Where people did their once a week watering, theirs pulled through fine. These are the old school ones, not any of the cultivars too. Especially in a city that loves its trees like Austin, even if lawn watering was banned outright, I think they'd still allow some sort of exceptions for trees.

I was always under the impression that with reasonable care, they do fine around here. I just needed some reassurance I guess.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:50PM
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