Star Magnolia



I just bought a magnolia shrub from Home Depot, it is 2 ft tall, says on the label, star magnolia. I am very excited, to plant in the front of our house, a city property, by the side walk As I am digging, I am finding it is a hardy land and might even have concrete under it
I bought lots of soil to put under and all around it.

Do you think it will survive and grow in that type of ground? Anything I can do to help it, or not a good idea to plant it there?

Thank you for your help.



Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry.

The purchase of a new tree to the garden is always exciting. Now is a great time to plant a container grown tree. A tree planted early in the fall would have a few months to established some roots before freeze up, and more time to continue growth in the early spring and therefore may be less susceptible to the stresses of Toronto’s hot summers.

You should never add new soil or soil ammendments when planting a new tree as this will limit root growth. Adding new soil or compost to the planting hole will create a soil pocket which is unlike the surrounding soil. Initially, the roots will grow well, but once they reach the edge of the soil in the planting pocket they will resist growing into the surrounding soil. Ideally, you should choose a location with soil that is suited to your chosen tree that will enable the tree to set down roots.

When deciding where to locate your tree  you will always be guaranteed success if you remember “ right plant right place.”  Magnolias prefer acidic to neutral soil that is moist but well-drained. It also needs a soil that is rich in organic matter. From you description it sounds as if the soil is very compact with lots of clay and poorly draining, definitely not an ideal site for your magnolia tree. Ammending your soil with the yearly application of organic compost will aid in improving your soil quality. It is important to note that soil quality will not improve with the one time addition of organic compost but requires several years before you will notice a difference.

The Toronto Master Gardeners have a Garden Guide entitled : Planting a Tree which gives important information on the proper technique for planting a tree.