“Love/Hate”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


When we moved into this house, there already was a large magnolia tree growing on the property.  The unfortunate part is it was planted about twelve feet from the front of the house and near the front entrance.  The magnolia is the quintessential tree of the South, and in the right spot is a lovely tree.  It has so many things going for it.

It is a tall stately tree which gives much needed shade during our hot summers.




In spring time it has huge white flowers that are just so beautiful.






It is just a wonderful, lovely tree.  Many people admire it and want one.  So, why do the people who own this big tree have a love/hate relationship with it?  Well, it really depends where it is planted.  Planted out in an open, sunny area where you do not care that there is no grass or flowers underneath, it is perfect.  But so often it is planted near a house, walkway or driveway and that is when the trouble starts.

First this tree is dropping something nine months out of the year.  It starts in early spring with the old, big, leathery leaves falling.  They fall for weeks.  They can be raked up and three hours later, it looks like your yard hasn’t been raked in weeks.  Case in point, the photo below is only four hours after I had raked up every leaf.




About half way into leaf drop season, the flowers begin to open.  This means the large papery bloom coverings fall off, then, as the flowers finish blooming, the big flower petals start falling.  This is followed by a short break of not having to pick up anything.  Then the seed pods begin to fall out the tree.  While these are not large, they are hard as rocks so you have to be sure not to run over them with a lawn mower.  Finally, the last thing to fall are the ripe seed pods with their glossy, bright red seeds showing.  These aren’t too bad, but you have to watch for stray magnolia seedlings. 

All of these problems are made worse for us because of the tree’s placement.  It is next to the house (leaves in the gutters), near the front entrance (have to keep raking up so house looks neat), and also, at the top of a circular driveway (large expanse of concrete makes leaves more visible). 

And, don’t even talk to me about surface roots.

So since this is the height of leaf raking season for me, I have not been having too many good thoughts about our Magnolia tree.  However, that did change last evening.  A thunderstorm came through, and as hubby and I were looking out the front door at the rain, we both noticed a small white object bounce on the driveway.  We both said at once, “Is that hail?”  Yes, it was.  Just as it started, I ran to the car that was parked in the open and moved it under the Magnolia tree.  The big, leathery leaves protected the car enough so that there was no damage. 

Now, this morning, I have a slightly different opinion of that tree than I had when I took the picture of all the fallen leaves.


  1. fairegarden said,

    May 4, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Oh my goodness, Jan, what a fantastic story! I thought you were going to end with the tree being damaged by the storm and having to be taken down, but you really had a surprise ending! Well done, to both you and the protective tree. 🙂

  2. Janet said,

    May 4, 2009 at 5:39 am

    This sounds like a- Love/hate/hate/sort of like/love- relationship. I would be worried about it near the house. With hurricanes one would think it may cause some big time damage for you. I do love Magnolias though.

  3. April said,

    May 4, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Funny you post on this…I was just having this discussion yesterday! The leaves are like leather, and hard to mulch with a mower. If they didn’t shed so bad they would be in more yards. You are right, the leaves will kill the grass. The older magnolias are magnificent though

  4. Jan said,

    May 4, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Gee, Frances, I never thought about the posting building to a climax such as the tree being damaged. I did learn a lesson about leaving the car exposed. Wouldn’t you know that I had bought two big bags of potting soil that morning and had parked the car so that it would be easier to take them out to use. I didn’t think to move it afterwards, something I won’t forget to do in the future.

    Janet, when Katrina came through, none of the magnolias around here came down, so I think they must be pretty stable, anyway, dear hubby wouldn’t hear of taking it out.

    April, I think so many magnolias (including mine) are just in the wrong place. Out in the open, I have seen they do not seem as troublesome, but close to a house or sidewalk is a different story. I am glad to know I am not the only one who dislikes the leaf falling problems. I was afraid I was starting to sound a bit curmudgeonly.

  5. donna said,

    May 4, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    This was a fun post. I thought for sure you were going to say that lightening struck the tree and now you’d be forced to cut it down. In the end, your Magnolia tree was the hero that saved the car….well, I guess you had a little something to do with it because you ran out there in the storm and moved the car under the tree.

  6. Jan said,

    May 4, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Donna, I don’t think I would be upset if this tree had to come down because I am the one that does all the clean up. Since hubby doesn’t rake up the leaves, etc, he loves the shade it gives. I am thankful it was there so I could quickly get the car under it though. Does that mean it has redeemed itself?

  7. Randy said,

    May 5, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Jan you are right on every observation! Beautiful trees but what a mess. I’m constantly cleaning up from the one accross the street.

  8. Jan said,

    May 5, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Randy, we used to have one across the street from us that always had leaves on our property because of the way the wind blew. I was so happy that it was the first tree that Katrina took down.

  9. Jean said,

    May 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I’m with you about those trees. Pretty to look at in someone else’s yard! I’d love to take ours down but I’m afraid the neighbor’s might yell. 😉 Maybe I’ll get brave enough one day.

  10. Jan said,

    May 8, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Jean, I would hate to cut down my tree, but it is just too much work. Yes, mine does give much needed shade to the front of the house, but it can be so messy. With work, it is hard to keep things raked up, and when I retire, I don’t want to spend all my time raking up magnolia leaves. I just wish it was not planted so close to the house. Farther out into the yard would be better.

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