Star Magnolia tree Pros and Cons, Growth Rate, Care, Diseases

The Star Magnolia is one of the tiniest species of magnolia. It blooms with a spectacular display of white flowers in the early spring. It is a garden cultivar of M. Kobus from the mountains of Honshu, Japan.

Magnolia flowers are thin and cup-shaped, and they are always found near the branch tips. Each flower contains between 6 to 12 petals and displays a spectrum of shades, ranging from white to yellow, as well as various tints of pink and purple.

The pollens from Magnolia flowers are important for early-rising insects, especially beetles. Their branches are also a safe place for garden birds.

Star magnolia Tree Pros and Cons

The star magnolia stays small and compact for many years, making it a fantastic flowering tree for a small yard. It makes an excellent specimen plant. It looks especially nice against a dark background, like a brick wall or a group of evergreens, which makes the flowers stand out. Additionally, it is an excellent addition to forest gardens and other partially shaded places.

Star Magnolia tree Pros and Cons, Growth Rate, Care, Diseases

This tree is intolerant of shade and is mostly shielded from late-winter winds that often harm flower petals. It is advantageous to keep this tree away from southern exposures where the flowers open early. 

If the branches are congested or do not get proper ventilation, these trees are subject to fungus and scale. Brown or white lumps collecting on branches are an indication of a star magnolia afflicted with magnolia scale. The leaves of the plant look shiny and sticky, and sometimes it looks like black sooty mold is growing on them. Tree mortality is inevitable if the infestation is not stopped.

Star magnolia Tree Growth Rate

Depending on the species, magnolias grow at varying rates. The Star magnolia tree is a slow-growing evergreen species that, with the right care and pruning, is shaped into either a massive shrub or a compact multistemmed tree. Its height at maturity ranges from 10 to 15 feet and its spread over its crown from 5 to 10 feet.  Tiny, fragrant, pink or white flowers bloom on this tree or shrub in late February and early March, before the leaves appear. 

Star magnolia Tree Care

It's crucial to remember that star magnolias thrive in acidic soils before planting them in alkaline soils like clay or chalk. To increase the acidity of the soil, a layer of peat is mostly added before planting the star magnolia. In places where the soil stays wet, especially during the winter, this isn't a problem because star magnolia grows in dense, rich soil.

In most cases, this shrub doesn't require pruning. To avoid removing the next season's buds, pruning is performed after flowering. Young star magnolias are best planted in the spring. Healthy plant growth is encouraged by providing adequate water and feeding the plants with either organic matter or a commercially prepared fertilizer mix. 

The star magnolia is a low-maintenance plant that survives for extended periods without being watered. They are resilient enough to survive mild drought and floods. During the first two growing seasons, water the magnolia tree once a week, and then once a month after that.

It mostly survives temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit, making star magnolia suitable for planting in zone 4. However, it is susceptible to harm from heavy snow and ice, and its blossoms are particularly susceptible to damage from cold and wind. It requires moderate humidity, between 30 and 50 percent. Thus, this tree prefers a sunny location and requires at least four hours of sunlight per day.

Star magnolia Tree Diseases

The star magnolia is not overly susceptible to a wide variety of illnesses and pests; in fact, only a few kinds of insects create issues. A few examples of these are as follows:

Magnolia root borer infestations result in damage to the star magnolia's root system. When star magnolias are infested, their general health declines. There is a pattern of the leaves turning yellow and falling off at the wrong time of year. Root borers are more prone to attack stressed star magnolia, but in most cases, the plants are treated with pesticides to prevent further infestation.

Insects called yellow-poplar weevils eat the foliage of star magnolia trees. The adults of this bug are little black beetles, and they consume the plant's leaves. In the worst situations, they cause widespread browning of leaves and produce brown feeding pits about the size of grains. Their larvae, which are tiny white grubs with no legs, likewise burrow into the leaves of star magnolia for food. The plants are mostly treated with insecticide to eliminate this disease.

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