The magnolia is a bushy, flowering evergreen tree that has large, fragrant white blooms. Magnolias make excellent shade trees. They prefer a well-drained acidic soil and can grow close to 100 feet in height. Magnolias are native to the southeastern part of the United States but can grow well in other climates when they are cared for properly.
Give the magnolia tree 2 to 3 inches of water daily during the first three years, from early spring to late summer. Skip the watering when there has been heavy rain. Apply 6 inches of mulch in a 2-foot wide circle around the base of the tree to hold in moisture and to cut down on weeds. Eliminate watering when the tree is fully established.
Fertilize the magnolia tree in March, May and June with 1 cup of slow-release 8-8-8 fertilizer in the first year of growth. Give the tree 2 cups of the same fertilizer in the second year and 4 cups in the third year. Apply the fertilizer in March, May and June in the second and third years. Switch to a granulated, slow release 8-8-8 fertilizer in the fourth year and apply in March.
Prune the magnolia tree in the late fall after all the flowers begin to fade and wilt. Trim off all dead and damaged limbs and branches. Prune the tree to obtain your desired shape. Remove any limbs that are weak and in the way of healthier ones.