Friday, February 24, 2012

Magnolias in China Valley 24 Feb 2012

If you were driving along Hickey Hill Road this afternoon and stopped pretty near the middle of China Valley, looking down through the rain and the haze, you would have seen a variety of precocious Magnolias: M. denudata, on the left and a grouping of M. zenii, M. biondii, and M. amoena.on the right. They are either brave or foolhardy to flower in February here. More to the point I suppose, they may be very lucky Magnolias this year. The 15 day forecast doesn't suggest any temperatures below 30F, and that only once. Combined with a few 32's, these trees could skate through relatively unscathed. That would be against all odds.

One of the problems with deciduous Magnolias in USDA Zone 7, is the fact that they often flower so early that an odd cool night will destroy the flowers turning a beautiful tree into a mass of rotten flowers. Our (the US National Arboretum) introductions 'Galaxy' and 'Spectrum' were developed to address this issue. They flower later than many of the older selections giving them better odds of escaping a late frost.

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