The Little Gem magnolia is scientifically known as the Magnolia grandiflora, and is also known as dwarf Southern Magnolia tree. It is a tree that is indigenous to the southern parts of North America. It grows at a slower rate and in a manner that is upright but pyramidal. It grows to a height of 30-35 feet, and has a 8-12-foot spread. This plant flowers at the age of 2-3 years and is therefore taken as a shrub by many people.
The blooming period is longer, producing beautiful white, fragrant, cup-shaped flowers, from the period of mid spring to summer. The fruit of the Little Gem Magnolia tree is pink in color, which is visible from early to late fall. It can be considered as an ornamental tree, and can also be grown for the purpose of shade because of its structure. It is also used for median strip planting in the highways, and as hedge or landscaping element for gardens and back yards.
Little Gem Magnolia height can vary anywhere between 20 to 30 feet upon maturity, and its spread will cover about 12 feet. Its cover begins from 3 feet above the ground. You should be careful while planting it, so that its growth does not interfere with the power lines. The growth rate of this plant is not very high, and continues to survive for up to 70 years.
This tree grows best when exposed to full sun, but will also grow well in partial shade. For its ideal growth conditions, the soil should be acidic, well-drained, and evenly moist. It is very drought tolerant when grown in soil type which have plenty of room for root expansion. There are no particular specifications for the soil type required for the growth of the Little Gem Magnolia tree. But, if allowed to remain in standing water, it is bound to die.
The tree is very sensitive to pollution, and therefore, should not be planted by the street, or in a heavily polluted zone. Since it thrives better in southern climates, in the cold, apply a thick mulch around the roots of the tree, to protect its exposed portions. Also, the roots have a tendency to spread, and may spread two to three times the canopy width. Due to this property, the transplantation of the field-grown plants is not very successful. They should be transplanted during winter and spring.
The Little Gem Magnolia tree is relatively low maintenance, but is easily susceptible to mold. To prevent this problem, it requires a regular pruning process during early spring. The pruning should be carried out only after the flowering period, to prevent the flowers from the damage. While pruning, the tallest branches of the tree, that are growing vertically, should be cut off to allow the plant to increase its spread.
As aforementioned, though low-maintenance, it requires care in terms of preventing it from the various diseases. Any disease may be identified by the following symptoms.
- Leaf spots can develop due to various bacteria and fungi, that start off with the development of yellow spots on the trees, and soon transform into gray and brown. This disease can spread due to a humid climate, excess moisture, and the presence of insects. To eliminate this problem, it is essential to use fungicides on the tree.
- Another problem that this tree is prone to is known as Verticillium wilt, it is a condition that attacks the roots of the tree, and eventually causes the branches to wilt. This problem can even lead to the death of the tree, as once the branches begin to wilt, so do the leaves after turning a yellow or red color. This problem cannot be eliminated, but definitely prevented by the use of a fertilizer that is low on nitrogen and high on potassium levels.
- Excess mineral present in the soil can be prevented by watering the plant regularly and heavily.
- Lastly, a condition that affects the bark of the tree is known as Canker disease. This condition manifests itself in the form of circular abrasions on the bark of the tree. It usually is transmitted from open wounds on the tree, and can spread and eventually kill the tree. To eliminate it, the tree should be pruned beyond the affected area. Moreover, the affected portion should be separated from the tree to prevent further spread of the disease.
Even though you do not have to be extremely particular while taking care of the Little Gem Magnolia, it is still essential to prune it to prevent the aforementioned diseases. Plant this beautiful tree to bring the beauty and bounty of nature into your own home.