Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest

Star Magnolia

{Picture of Star Magnolia}

Plant Information

  • Plant Type: Shrub: Large
  • Scientific Name: Magnolia stellata Play audio of plant name
  • Family: Magnolia
  • Related Cultivars:

    Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star'

  • Zone: 4
  • Plant Size: 8-12'
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Color: White
  • Habit: Rounded
  • Culture:

    Requires a neutral to acid soil. Will develop chlorosis on high pH soils. Full sun.

  • Notes:

    An exceedingly beautiful plant in bloom. The fragrant white flowers appear in early spring and are susceptible to damage from spring frost and harsh winds. It is finer textured and more shrub-like than other magnolias. In the fall bears orange fruit on silky threads and the foliage turns bronze-yellow. Will develop chlorosis on high pH soils.

  • Spring-blooming magnolias:

    Spring blooming Magnolias should be sited carefully: locate to avoid harsh, damaging winds and warm microclimates which stimulate the flowers to open prematurely. A dark background, such as evergreens or brick will accentuate the flower display.

  • Pruning:Pruning animation

    Structural pruning of small trees is somewhat different than with larger trees, as small trees generally do not develop strong central leaders. Thus structural pruning of these trees should focus on addressing branch defects that are prone to damage from snow or other storm-related stresses. In particular, branches with included bark and branches larger than half the diameter of the trunk should be suppressed, or if small, removed. The fundamentals of structural pruning can be found at the following websites:

    Urban Tree Foundation – Structural Pruning

    University of Florida – Structural Pruning

    If a branch needs to be removed for clearance, is damaged, or possesses a critical defect, a 3-point cut is used (see animation). First an undercut is made to prevent bark from tearing down the trunk if it remains attached to the falling limb. The branch is then "stub cut" which removes most of the branch to facilitate a clean final cut. The final cut is made just outside the branch collar, which is the swollen area between the branch and the trunk. Cuts made here will heal most readily and prevent rot from invading the main trunk of the tree, a common occurrence when branches are cut flush with the trunk.

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Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest

Bill Hoch, Associate Professor
Montana State University

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