The Q&A Archives: Planting

Question: Do Rose of Sharon shrubs need protection from strong winds?

I have a grandiflora Magnolia that died over the winter. It is situated on a corner where it received full sun but strong wind. What can I replace it with? I would like to plant a sweet bay Magnolia. Do you think that's a good idea?

Answer: Hibiscus syriacus can handle a windy spot, although you would need to pay attention to watering it the first year or two while it becomes established.

The evergreen magnolias need a sheltered location with protection from wind and harsh winter sun and with soil that is organic and evenly moist yet well drained. They really are not recommended for a windy spot for that reason. If this is a newly planted tree, and it has yellowed or defoliated this winter, it is possible that it has been stressed but is not actually dead. You might want to consult with your professional nurseryman or a professionally trained and certified arborist to see if it is still alive and might be transplanted to a more sheltered spot.

The deciduous sweet bay or swamp magnolia is native to damp woods and wet areas, so it does best in a spot that is naturally on the moist side. Magnolia virginiana is evergreen in the south and more deciduous toward the nothern end of its range. Since a windy spot tends to be far colder than a sheltered spot, and you are already in the northern part of its range, I would not recommend this tree for a windy location either.

It sounds as though you may have a difficult spot to plant. I would strongly suggest you consult with a professionally trained and certified nurseryman and possibly also with your county extension to analyze the growing conditions where you want to plant a tree, and identify plants that would handle those conditions. Good luck with your project!

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