The Q&A Archives: Growth Cycle of 'Little Gem' Magnolia

Question: I have purchased a Magnolia Dwarf Southern 'Little Gem' from a nursery in south central Texas. The tree is in my yard for 1 1/2 growing season now. It was in a 10 gallon nursery container. The tree seems to be having a hard time growing. To my surprise it is setting what I call acorns (Just like our native Live Oaks in our area) It has not tried to flower at all. Is the setting of acorns a normal condition for this tree. The tree is getting plenty of water and I have been fertilizing it with a sulfur coated fertilizer 19-5-9 twice during the growing season. The tree just seems to be stunned.
I know it is a dwarf and I don't expect as much growth as a regular magnolia. Waiting to hear back from you with any help possible and curious about the acorns it is setting.
Thank You for you time and appreciate any help I can get.

Answer: Gerard,

That plant does not set an acorn so what you are seeing must be some sort of either bloom bud or seed structure. To be sure try taking some to your County Extension Office for them to look over and if need be send to A&M for identification.

The fact that the tree is stunted is rather normal for one that has not been in the ground very long. But you may be needing to keep the soil moist a little more. Not soggy just moist. Dry spells really set them back especially for a young tree that has not had many years to develop an extensive root system. Mulch the area around the tree well to hold moisture and deter weeds. Your fertilizing is fine.

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