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Advice on planting a magnolia (or something else?) for screening

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  • @Fairygirl
    Don't Magnolias need acidic soil?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    No - one or two are very happy in alkaline, but most are happiest in neutral. Slight acidity is fine. Chalky soils are no good for them though, which also tends to be  alkaline.
    Extremes are the problem - very acidic is no use either. I probably should have clarified that previous post a bit more  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Surprised to hear that about the chalk? I live in a very chalky area, (a fact I was reminded of yesterday when I was digging a hole and had to bring out the mattock to slowly chip through a layer of what appeared to be almost solid chalk about a foot down!)

    I have a number of magnolias one mature that was here when we moved in and three I’ve planted..all appear to be doing very well...I think they are lovely trees, look fantastic when in bloom 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Yes - as I said. Some are fine  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • I’ve seen a lot of magnolias growing in people’s front gardens so pretty sure they grow well here  :)

    A (possibly obvious) point that I hadn’t really considered - will a multi-stem tree provide a much wider coverage compared to a single stem tree of the same variety? I think I’d expected a single stem tree to just branch out higher up but I guess it makes sense that the overall canopy width would be reduced too?

    Most pictures of mature magnolias that provide the wide canopy that I’m looking for appear to be multi-stem.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Multi stem would certainly give better coverage, but perhaps not needed so much if you aren't planting in the corner. 
    Just check the variety before you decide. As I said, some will take alkaline soil and some won't. I think it's M. grandiflora which is fine in alkaline soil. If in doubt, you can get one of those testing kits.  :)
    M. stellata might be a good option if you don't want something so big, which would be better if you're pulling the tree forward. They flower in spring.
    Grandiflora,  gets quite large over time, although it has the advantage of being evergreen. There's a few named varieties too. They're later flowering - summer/autumn.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 66,268
    Before you decide on your tree, take a look at pictures of them when they’re not in bloom ... that’s what they look like most of the time ... the flowers appear for a glorious but brief window of time ... often no longer than a fortnight (depending on spring winds and rain). 

    Choose a tree you like the look of all year round ... the flowers are a bonus. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Indeed @Dovefromabove. Like Camellias [and with those - that's if they don't get annihilated by the weather as soon as the flowers appear  ;) ] and many other shrubs/trees. 
    Dull when they aren't in flower, so they need other planting around them.
    It wouldn't really be my choice either, especially in a smaller space, and not unless other plants would take over. Some bulbs and perennials, and clematis to grow through it, for example  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Thanks all! All very good advice and lots to think about 🙂

    I haven’t had a chance to go out and try the cane yet to get an idea of size and location (I’ll blame that on all the rain!) but I think I’m leaning towards a single stem tree planted forward which will allow bulbs/perennials to be planted nearby (which will be trickier with the multi stem).

    Thanks again for all the advice and pointers, I’ll try to remember to update this thread once I have something planted! 😊
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    It's not really trickier with a multi stemmed shrub or tree - you can still plant all sorts of other things around and nearby. The stems come from a single point - it's not like a bamboo or a cornus , where you have multiple stems coming from a wider area  :)

    Take some time to ponder it though. Lots of choices to work with  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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