Saturday, May 25, 2013

Elizabeth Does Not Look Good

Overcast, cloudy, with more rain threatening. Unsettled weather and cooler, in the low 60s.

Magnolia 'Elizabeth' looks very bad. She bloomed earlier in spring, but is not leafing out well. Leaves are stunted, very small, and limp to the touch.

As a young tree she was shapely and had a huge, full canopy. This is what she looked like in early fall, 2011, before the October snowstorm tore off and twisted branches.

And here is what she looked like when first planted in 2010. The leaves were big and almost tropical looking even then. The skinny trunk did not look like it could hold up the foliage.

In 2013 she now looks to be in decline. First there was all the branch damage from the 2011 snowstorm. But in 2012 it looked like it was coming back, with new shoots, a lot of new growth and new branching. It started to fill in again and looked great.

Then there was antler rub in the winter of 2011-2012 that tore off some of the thin bark. But a callus had formed and was healing the wound.

However, I think the combination of branch damage and trunk damage was enough to cause the bark to crack. According to the research I've done, yellow flowered varieties are particularly susceptible to bark cracking, and it can be the result of winter sun, structural damage above, or to the roots.

This tree certainly had its share of damage above.

The crack is all the way up and down the slender stem.

There does not appear to be a callus forming at the edges of the crack -- it's just open.

So now Elizabeth is leafing out in a very pallid and stunted way. No big tropical leaves, no fullness at all.

I won't do anything yet. But I fear Elizabeth is not going to make it. I'll move the variegated sweetgum there if I end up having to remove this magnolia.

What a star she was going to be in my garden.