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Magnolia's in Southern Arizona

East Sahuarita, AZ

I live in the southern part of Arizona near Tucson. I live in an association where they state Magnolias are prohibitied but there's really no reason other than "aesthetics" for why it's prohibited. I've asked and another reason is that they require an extreme amount of water that if not properly watered could seek out other water sources and could venture into another neighbors yard, possibly cracking a wall or pool in search of water. Can some one please tell me the facts on Magnolia trees or shrubs? Would anything work?? I water my plants religiously everyday, especially in the summer and basically "flood" the trees each day to make sure they are properly watered. Suggestions??

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I think someone is telling you it's April fools day by default. Magnolia's like Rhododendrons, Azalea's,
Camellia's and Magnolia's are all shallow rooted plants, they dont have roots that grow along the surface of the ground BUT they dond send down deep roots, and for sure IF an Magnolia went anywhere near a drain it would die off, they like moisture retaining soil that drains away well. so there is a huge miss information, I know because I grow these plants and have done for years, I live West Coast of Scotland and these grow well here due to climate, acidic soil and heavy rainfall in summer to help the plants make nice new flowering buds as they make those the summer BEFORE they are ready to flower.
IF I were you I would go to the library, get a book on Magnolia's and take it directly to the person / people who made up the ridiculous rule, They are beautiful slow growing plants BUT dont plant where the early morning sun will damage flower buds when they are frosted by winter weather as when the melt -defrost, it turns the flowers brown when opening for blooms.

Sorry I've kind of ranted here BUT that type of crap is so misinformed it is dangerous to the extent it's childish.
You go ahead and plant as many of those lovely flowering plants as you like and let them take you to court,
Have fun and good luck. Best Regards. WeeNel.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Most Magnolias are native to places in the world with year round moisture, deep, organic soils and not so hot, dry summers. The American deep south, and parts of Asia, for example.

Around here (inland from San Francisco) they do very well, in spite of our dry summers, but they do take a lot of water. They are commonly grown in a lawn or a planter area near a lawn so they get lots of water.

They are not great for standing water, though. Not soggy wet soil all the time. A deeper soaking followed by a chance to dry out some and get some air into the soil is much better than daily flooding unless the soil is almost pure sand.

Perhaps there are some people who think that Magnolias just do not look right in a desert community. But neither do lawns, and look at how many golf courses there are in desert areas (no just AZ).

There are many species of Magnolia, and many varieties within those species. Look for some of the unusual ones, and the people who complain may never even recognize it as a Magnolia.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

IF you decide to get a lovely Magnolia, try set up a water butt, they do prefer rain water better than our tap water and IF you have additives added to your house water supply, that might cause a reaction to the plants, some places here in UK have had chlorine added supposedly to help prevent tooth decay, but it's not good if you water the garden with this town water supply. only a thought, you might not have that problem in your area.
Best Regards WeeNel.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

My parents live in the Phoenix Area and have a well landscaped yard. I have gotten a familiarity with the area after visiting them a handful of times and talking with them. I really don't think that a Magnolia would be a wise planting choice in your area. I think the air would suck the water out of the leaves faster than it could be replenished. The fact that the HOA called out Magnolia surprises me. If your HOA is anything like my parent's, it could be that Magnolias would grow taller than the allowed height.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Magnolia's need shade, they dont like full blown sunlight at any time of the year, especially IF planted where morning sun can get to them IF in area's where the buds get frosted at night, the early sun defrosts them too fast and causes the buds to drop of open brown in colour, dont think in Arizona you have these problems but sun heat yes.

I grow mine in among Rhododendrons for shelter from cold winds and early morning winter sun, not that we see a lot of that here in Scotland BUT hey, pigs might fly one day LOL.
IF you really want to try a Magnolia, find a cooler, dapple shade area, when refilling the hole either in large pot or in the ground, stick a clear plastic juice container into the soil, remove the bottom of the container and the cap, sink the container into the soil about 6-8 inches from the roots and allow 2 inch above the top soil, back fill the soil and when giving water, refill the plastic container a couple of times with water and the water will soak down to the roots where the moisture is required, this is also good for young tree's or other larger shrubs, it's a great way to add a liquid feed too,

Hope this gives you food for thought.
Good luck. WeeNel.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Actually there is a very long list of Magnolias.
The one that most people call Magnolia is Magnolia grandiflora, the Southern Magnolia. Native to SE USA, the warm areas with plenty of rainfall. They are evergreen, have very large flowers and heavy leathery leaves. There are many varieties. If size is an issue, look for 'Little Gem'.

The Star Magnolia, M. stellata, is more of a bush and would do well as an understory plant as described by WeeNel. There are several varieties of Star Magnolias. Mostly the flowers are white or may have a touch of pink. Very narrow petals. Deciduous.

The Tulip Tree (not Liriodendron) is M. soulangiana. MANY varieties. Most are small trees or multi trunked. Flowers may be anywhere from pure white to many shades of pink and purple. Many are 2-tone, inside the flower one color, outside another. Deciduous.

All the others... and there are MANY, MANY species and hybrids from small to large trees, some shubs or multi trunked. Most have large showy flowers, and tropical looking leaves. Most of the flowers are in the white-pink-red-purple tones, but there are some described as yellow.

All are best in bright shade to full sun, never a deeply shaded location. They need plenty of water. Deep, thorough soaking. Some are more tolerant of wind than others, but overall I think of them as more tropical, less wind, warm, humid plants.
Almost all of them do just fine in my area (9b) but I would not think of them as OK in the desert, or any community built in the desert.

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