Magnolia Teddy Bears - need help!

EmmaRMEmmaRM Posts: 2



Hoping someone can give me some ideas on how to help my poor Magnolia Teddy Bears?

Planted 23/12/17 in new soil (built up garden bed) with mulch and a good watering.

Holes in leaves noticed a few days later, nursery suggested caterpillars and we bought Confidor and treated early morning. Some black spots on lower leaves, they suggested we were over watering. 

06/01 41 + degree day with extremely hot & strong winds. Watered plants well in the morning and just before lunch but only at the base, no leaves got wet.

07/01 leaves dry and crunchy, watering increased.

Leaves keep blackening, or going brown, curling and dropping off. The stems are still green so I have hope that they will come back.

Out of 9 plants there are 4 that are fine, one at one end and three at the other end of the garden bed. One in particular looks like its thriving and it's right next to the worst one.


Spoke to my Dad who is a pretty keen gardener and he is stumped. Not sure I trust the nursery advice so I'm looking to strangers on the internet to help my save the plants, my sanity and my wallet haha

Thanks in advance


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 44,416

    Possibly when they were at the nursery some were in a more sheltered/shaded spot and the leaves were consequently too tender to cope with the strong sunlight and high temperatures they've had to cope with since being planted in your  garden. 

    Hopefully the plants will survive and produce new leaves. 

    Planting in such high temperatures can always lead to problems ... I would try to avoid it and stick to spring or autumn for planting in places with hot summers 

    In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt ... Margaret Atwood
  • LearnincurveLearnincurve Posts: 291

    Can you get hold of any manure? Fresh is fine because they love acid. It won’t help with the heat damage but it will help with the recovery. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 44,416

    Remember to keep fresh manure away from the stems and roots of plants as the acidity can scorch and burn them. 


    Last edited: 16 January 2018 08:09:30

    In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt ... Margaret Atwood
  • EmmaRMEmmaRM Posts: 2

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it image

    The plants were in a shady spot at the nursery, the garden bed isn't full sun all day so they do get some respite. It was just the one day with the extreme high and the extreme winds (then next day was 20ish degrees). 

    We wouldn't normally plant in summer, it was just the way it all came together. Hindsight has me wishing we had left the garden bed empty and waited but now we have to do our best with what we have.

    We have family on a farm, we can get some manure and put it underneath the mulch. Given the roots on a magnolia are quite shallow is this a good idea?

    We have Seasol, better to use this than manure? Weekly, fortnightly application? Or would it make no difference to their recovery? I guess that's what I need to focus on now. Worrying about the how/why isn't going to have them looking better anytime soon.

    We applied Yates Waterwise Droughtshield to the plants yesterday as we are having 2 hot days in a row this week. Hopefully the polymer coating will help protect the leaves we still have.

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 1,605

    The dried up brown leaves will not recover. You will need to prune all the crispy and droopy leaves out. Keeping them on will encourage infection to your shrub. You may need to be ruthless and prune quite far down from what I can see. 

    The issue is watering and possibly your plants were quite pot-bound due to its size. The roots needs to be teased away from itself before planting. They can take some time to settle in. Planting in warm weather for shrubs that size will mean high maintenance for you in the first two years. I would even suggest you cut some of the other shrubs down a bit to allow them to settle in the first year. 


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