How to Protect a Magnolia Tree From Freezing Temperatures


The magnolia tree holds a sentimental place in the heart of America as a tree that is strongly associated with the Old South. Most magnolia tree varieties are tender and susceptible to freezing weather or frost damage. Several new cold-hardy cultivars have been developed that can flourish without protection even in the northern-most regions of the United States. The magnolica grandiflora is easily susceptible to even a minor frost and its leaves will sustain damage.

Step 1

Plant the magnolia tree in a southern, full-sun location. Place the plant beside a house, building or solid fence to afford it winter protection and keep chilling winds from taking their toll on the tree's delicate foliage.

Step 2

Apply 4 inches of mulch around the base of the tree and outward to the tree's drip line.

Step 3

Cover the magnolia tree with blankets the night before a heavy frost is predicted. Remove the blankets the next morning after the sun rises and the surrounding environment warms.

Step 4

Irrigate the magnolia tree and the surrounding grounds with water, using a garden sprinkler, during a heavy frost to insulate from freezing. Begin irrigating the tree when the temperature dips to 34 degrees F. Continue watering the tree through the night to protect it from the frost. Keep the tree's foliage continuously moist through the night. Discontinue watering when the sun rises and the outside temperature begins to warm up past 34 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Old blankets
  • Oscillating sprinkler


  • Floridata: Magnolia Grandiflora
  • University of Minnesota: Magnolia for Minnesota
  • The Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium: Frost/Freeze Protection By Sprinkler Irrigation

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Magnolias
Keywords: magnolia tree protection, frost protection magnolia, magnolia tree winter

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.