Tree Species Highlight: Sweetbay Magnolia

Trees provide a wide variety of benefits, from lowering your energy bill to beautifying the landscape. Tree benefits are endless, and everyone looks for different characteristics when choosing a tree. One species that offers a variety of features is the sweetbay magnolia.

A small to medium size tree, sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) packs a big punch. An understory species, this tree usually grows with a multi-trunked form to a height of 10 to 35 feet and can have a spread that is just as wide. Sweetbay magnolia is semi-evergreen, meaning it will lose its leaves for only a short time during winter (as it's beginning to do in the photo to the right). The long, oval leaf is shiny green on the top side with a silvery underside. Like other magnolias, the sweetbay magnolia has a large flower that turns into a cone like fruit with attractive, bright red seeds that birds love. The white, cup shaped flower of the sweetbay magnolia has 9-12 waxy pedals that put off a sweet smell. Sweetbay magnolia has a moderate growth rate, prefers clay soils, and in this region tends to grow best when planted in a partially shaded area.
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If you are interested in adding some variety to your landscape and think a sweetbay magnolia is that tree, then we encourage you to consider signing up for the Foster-A-Tree program. Along with a number of other interesting species, sweetbay magnolia is available for yards in need of a smaller tree. Visit the Foster-A-Tree page to learn more about this Urban Forestry program and register for one of the remaining trees.

View more topics from the Winter 2017 edition of Edmond Tree Mail
Check out last season's Tree Species Highlight