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The evergreen magnolia is a handsome, glossy-leaved tree or shrub, often seen growing somewhat regally against a wall. Large, waxy white flowers up to 30cm across appear on and off over the course of the summer, sometimes into autumn. The leaves are rust-coloured underneath, but less textured than other varieites, and the seedheads that follow flowering are also interesting. 'Goliath' is one of the hardiest varieties in cultivation.

A native of the southern United States, Magnolia grandiflora can, in its native habitat, grow to 20m (65ft) however in the UK 10m (32ft) seems to be a maximum. It has been grown in this country since 1734, though many of the original plants were destroyed in the great frost of 1739-40. This had the effect of conferring a rarity value on the survivors which were thought of as being hardier.

Where to grow

Magnolias need moist soils with a high organic matter content. They do not like drying out nor do they cope with waterlogged soils. It is often thought that Magnolias will not tolerate alkaline soils however many of the common varieties will do well except on chalky soils.

Very cold weather will lead Magnolia grandiflora to drop some leaves (which happens naturally in any case), so avoid very exposed sites.

Did you know?

The tiny dots on the grey bark of evergreen magnolias are lenticels. These are tiny openings that allow gases to reach, and escape from, the inner tissues of the trunk.


Mature Height

Small - 5-10 metres


5-10 metres

Shape / Habit


Growth Rate


Soil Type

All soil types

Sun Levels

Full sun

Difficulty / Hard to Grow


Evergreen / Deciduous


Leaf Colour



Large Leaves

Flower Colour


Flowering Type


Flowering Month



Parkland Tree
Garden Tree
City/Urban Sites




Pruning Magnolia grandiflora Goliath

Magnolia grandiflora Goliath may have a naturally strong leader, but if not select a suitable stem and remove any vigorous shoots. Ideally remove stems gradually, and if an established Magnolia needs to be hard pruned spread the process over a few years.

Wall training is popular way to grow Magnolia plants, and it also offers protection in cooler climates. Train a central leader and tie the laterals at 45̊ to a framework. As the laterals grow continue to tie them in, which can then be horizontal. Prune any laterals that are outward facing or badly placed.

What time of year should I prune? Prune after flowering in the spring, just as new growth begins.

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.


The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water. It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree. In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass. When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree. It is vital that for at least 3 years after planting your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one metre wide completely free of grass.

  1. Mulch mats are an effective way to stop grass and weeds, although they will require a careful eye to make sure they continue to work. After clearing the ground around the tree, firmly fit the mat by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this. Be careful not to allow the woodchip to touch the stem as it can cause rot.
  2. Weed killer is very effective, however it is harmful to the environment. Organic weed killers usually do not kill roots. Weed killer needs to be applied each year for the first 3 years, preferably when the tree is dormant, or just once before applying a mulch mat.
  3. Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem. Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.


If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree. Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm. The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots. Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150 1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175 1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.


Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping. These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens. Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees. Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge. Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.

Are the delivery costs the same no matter how many plants I order?

Yes the delivery costs stay the same no matter how many plants you have on your order. They are worked out based on your distance from our nursery and can be found here.

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