This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"E. W.," New Albany, Ind., says: "I notice large trees of Magnolia grandiflora, that, owing to the severity of last winter, when the thermometer fell 220 below zero, had shed their winter-browned leaves, and seemed apparently dead, resuming life, and again unfolding their mantle of rich green. The loss of foliage usually proves fatal to evergreens, does it not?"
[The fact that the loss of leaves by an evergreen is usually fatal, refers only to coniferous trees or the "needle" bearing section. But pine needles are not leaves in the usual acceptation of the term. Pine leaves are adnate or connate with the stem, though when the plants are young or have a low vital power, they are sometimes seen wholly free, and not united with the branches. The needles are modified branches, though often called phyllodes. Now we see that the tree having lost its true leaves in a natural way, and forced to rely on a modification of branches to perform the offices of leaves is in a very bad way when these also are lost. There is indeed nothing left out of which leaves can come, and this is the reason why such trees suffer so much. When an ordinary tree loses its leaves, the axial bud develops, and makes another crop, and does what, in the pine, has already been done.
So far from the loss of a leaf in winter to a broad-leaved evergreen being an injury, it would probably be a benefit, by lessening the draft by the atmosphere on the plant's liquid capacities. We should not be surprised if a Magnolia grandiflora, often killed in winter in northern latitudes, would be as hardy as other species, if divested of its leaves in autumn. - Ed. G. M].