Magnolia Tree - young leaves dying

Hi all,

I was gifted a Magnolia Genie in June 2018. The tree was initially planted in suitable pot and replanted in current position in the ground in October 2018. Not sure of age but tree is 1.8m tall.
 
Last summer all leaves dried and fell off. Only flower buds remained dormant over winter. Last few weeks young leaves start sprouting and flower buds opening. Unfortunately all leaves are affected by brown discoloration with some of them dying undeveloped. The flower buds have some brown discoloration too.
The magnolia is planted in a spot which receives at least 6hrs of sun and in well drained soil.

Any advice to what’s happening to the tree and how to proceed would be much appreciated.
Many thanks in advance 
Ved


Posts

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 7,611
    edited 16 April
    I don't know where you are, but that looks like typical frost damage.  The same happened to several of my magnolias after last week's frosts.  The damaged leaves and flower will fall off but new ones will grow.  This happens in years when we have an early warm spell of weather which breaks the tree's dormancy, like we experienced in February in the UK this year.  It has also been an extremely dry spring in my location and I'm having to water lots of trees and plants this year which doesn't help.  The fact that all of the leaves fell off last summer means the tree probably didn't get enough water, so is already weak.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,054
    I don't really know but it looks like it has been caught by frost with the brown ends and the flowers look similarly damaged.
    Early morning sun will do it.

    What is your soil type?
    I think some magnolias are more "fussy" with the ph levels than others.
    Some like a little more acidity, and that could be part of the problem.
    This is shown by yellow leaves like yours has.

    Look up your magnolia type and see if it is listed as needing more acidity. You can buy and use a feed especially for this and see if it helps.
    Also check up on Sequestered Iron which I understand is used as a booster for this problem and also look up Epsom salts.

    There may be several contributing factors, so any question you can answer will help to give more advice.

    Also did you water your plant last year to help it establish, it was dry at times so may have been lack of water contributing.

  • Hi Bob and Rubytoo,

    Firstly many thanks on your prompt response and advices.

    I am based in Essex and this is my first magnolia - actually my first garden to be honest with you. 
    I was under impression that magnolias are resistant to frost so didn’t worry much when frost was forecasted two weeks ago.

    Regarding soil type, haven’t checked it yet but it looks like I will have to do it ASAP if I want to keep my plants healthy.

    Ved
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 2,882
    edited 16 April
    You mentioned leaves dropping off prematurely last year. That will indicate that the young tree has not been watered enough last year, and from your recent photos, the tree is still struggling.

    There is frost damage, but the leaves are tatty and very yellow, so follow Rubytoo's advice on the sequestered iron. You may need to lay more organic matter over the planting area to hold moisture in and continue to water it through the warmer months. Six hours of sun for a young tree like a Magnolia at this time of year means, it will dry out pretty quick. 
  • I am planning to install automatic irrigation system with soaker hose for magnolia tree watering. From your experience how much water a young magnolia tree require?
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 2,882
    I don't have any experience with automatic irrigation systems, so can't advise, but looking at your tree size and only planted in last year, I recommend you only water them deeply once a week in more warmer weather. Any slow drip watering for shrubs and big plants may encourage shallow roots and encourage them to stay just below the surface. Not ideal in the long-run.

    Example, the next few days we are expecting temperatures around 22C. That is when I would look into watering deeply. 4-5 litres slowly into the base area. Water in the early mornings or evenings to get the best from the watering. That done once a week and a little more frequent if temperatures get much higher. You can ease off if there is rain in between and into the autumn/winter months.

    The more mulch you put down in spring the better it will be for your plant roots. Not only are the roots less stressed, they are able to deal with hotter temperatures and have less weed growth competing with it.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 53,228
    I also live in dry East Anglia ... during the drought last summer/autumn I was giving a young tree, planted the previous year,  two full buckets of water every other day. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







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