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Magnolia Grandiflora (Bull Bay) tree is one of the best-known and revered ornamental trees in the USA. It is a large striking, long-lived, evergreen tree of moderate to tall height, typically 60 to 80 feet tall. The Bull Bay spreads to about one-half its height and has a dense crown of rounded or pyramidal shape. The bark is thin, gray, relatively smooth with warty spots. In addition, in older trees, the bark peels off in plates. Leaves are large and dark green, shiny, leathery, alternate, simple, broadly ovate with smooth margins, rusty brown undersides, and 5 to 8 by 2 to 5 inches. Leaves are aromatic when crushed.
Additionally, Flowers are borne at branch ends, are white, showy, sweetly fragrant, cup-shaped, large (8 – 12 inches across) with 6 – 12 waxy petals. Magnolia Grandiflora (Bull Bay) name means large flowers. Fruits are ovoid, cone-like, pinkish in color, 3 – 6 x 1 – 3 inches, ripening to reveal numerous bright red seeds, which attract birds. Propagation by seed is variable, cuttings, and grafting more often used. The wood is hard and heavy and can be used for furniture, veneer, etc. Bull Bay prefers moist peaty, well-drained soils. The tree has some pest problems (e.g. scale) and mildew on leaves; disposal of leaves helps reduce mildew. It needs some pruning to develop a strong structure.
Most importantly, in landscaping, the leaves, flowers, and fruits make the Bull Bay Tree an exceptional specimen tree in wide lawns, along the seashore; also suited for buffer strips in parking lots, median strips, and along highways. Over 50 bull bay cultivars exist.