A reader from Charleston, South Carolina posed a query about a Southern magnolia tree. The reader had had this balled-and-burlapped specimen for two years; it had been 5 feet tall when installed.
The problem? Not only sparse flowering in its second spring but also -- and more worrisome -- yellow leaves that fall. Here was my response:
Sometimes, when Southern magnolia trees develop yellow leaves, it is only as a prelude to natural shedding (which happens periodically). However, this seems to occur more often in the spring. With you reporting seeing the yellow leaves in fall, it makes me think there could perhaps be a problem with your Southern magnolia in terms of water and/or drainage. Let me expand on that observation.
Too much or too little water are both possibilities, whether you irrigate yourself and/or rely on rainfall. But the issue of water is inextricably intertwined with that of drainage. Why? Because even if there's sufficient water, if it percolates through the ground too rapidly, your Southern magnolia tree wouldn't be able to take full advantage of it. Conversely, if the drainage is impeded by an overly clayey soil, and you get a lot of rain and/or overwater your specimen, the roots will "drown." Either extreme is bad news.
Back to > Magnolia Care FAQ Index
Back to > Tree Care FAQ Index
Back to > Index to All FAQs