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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Color, Parrotia

I have a Parrotia persica tree that has never developed the dramatic purple color that the Sunset Western Garden Book says it should have. Its leaves do turn gold in the fall. What nutrient is it missing? It gets full sun, and is at the top of a sloping area of lawn. I have wondered if the run-off could be leaching something from the soil.

Any suggestions?


According to this article in Fine Gardening online, Parrotia persica only has that purple color as the leaves emerge in spring:
"Reddish-purple when unfolding in spring, the leaves are a lustrous dark green in summer, and yellow to orange or scarlet in fall. Leaves hold their color for a long period. Older branches and trunks develop an exfoliating gray, green, white, and brown color that is a welcome asset in the winter garden. It grows successfully in Zones 4 to 8, tolerates sun and partial shade, and is easy to transplant. Often, vegetatively propagated forms offer more reliable fall color."

According to Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs (Timber Press, 1997), there is some variability in the foliage color: "[...]the developing leaves are reddish-purple to bronze, maturing to lustrous dark green." I don't believe missing nutrients are the reason you are not seeing dramatic purple color but if you are concerned, you can do a soil test for any imbalances.

Date 2018-03-14
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Magnolia grandiflora, Canker (Plant disease), Parrotia, Pruning trees

I have two questions. When is a good time to prune Parrotia persica?
What can I do about a canker on the trunk of a Southern Magnolia?


According to the American Horticultural Society's Pruning and Training (edited by Christopher Brickell; DK Publishing, 1996), Parrotia persica should not need a great deal of pruning, but if you do prune, it should be from fall to early spring.

If you are growing it as a shrub-like shape, you should not thin or shorten laterals, as this will cause congested growth. If you are growing it in a tree-like form, the trunk can be cleared to about 5 feet, allowing the crown to branch. If needed, you can shorten pendulous tips to give clearance for walking beneath the tree. Once established, this tree should not be pruned. If the tree was a grafted specimen, remove any suckers.

This information from University of Florida discusses Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), and says that cankers may kill branches, but the affected branches may be pruned.
"Canker diseases will kill branches. Cankers on branches can be pruned out. Keep trees healthy with regular fertilization and by watering in dry weather."
Magnolias by Rosemary Barrett (Firefly Books, 2002) says that "various cankers, such as nectria canker, dieback and trunk decay can all be dealt with by cutting out the dead or diseased wood. Rarely will any of these diseases cause the death of the plant."

Date 2018-06-27
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May 31 2018 13:14:08