Forum home Problem solving

Poorly magnolia.

Hi. Hope you can help me. A few months ago I planted Magnolia Vulcan in front of the house. It was fine for the first few weeks but the problems started. The leaves started becoming yellowish/brownish and soon some gradually fell off. I thought it might have looked like some fungus so used fungicide several times (over a few months) but it didn't really help. I did not notice any pest. The soil is clay, I believe I watered it enough when required. Now the remaining leaves are in pretty bad condition. There are some new ones on the top and they seem OK but who know how long they're going to stay like that. Please see attached photos. I'd be grateful for your opinions/advice.

Many thanks in advance


image    image   image


  • I would look closely at the way it was planted, because it has obviously suffered, either by not having enough water early on or there being some grim soil underneath.  However, it has hung on and is still with you.  I would leave it alone. You'd do more damage changing things now.  Fingers crossed for next spring.  Meanwhile, I would clear away the grass from around the bottom of the tree for at least 2ft (60cm) around it.  Grass will compete with the tree for nutrients.  It also allows you to mow the grass without going anywhere near the base of the tree.  No more fungicide or feed this year. At most, a mulch of garden compost, nothing rich, about 2 inches deep on the cleared area of soil, but not piled up against the base of the tree.  Bear in mind it will make a tree about 20ft tall by nearly as much wide.  If, therefore, you do decide to move it, do it after the leaves have fallen.  


  • I think it has been short of water, mainly because the grass is too close to the trunk.  You need to widen that area so it is at least a couple of feet diameter (ideally a metre) because grass is a very hungry and thirsty plant which will always out-compete a young tree for water and nutrients.  If you can lay a couple of inches mulch of well-rotted manure within the cleared circle, this will feed the tree for next year.  Cover with bark chippings to make it more aesthetically pleasing if you want - just make sure nothing touches the trunk.  Spring bulbs can be planted close to deciduous trees if you don't want a beare area as they do most of their growing when the tree is dormant so don't compete anywhere near as much as grass.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Snap (more or less), H-C! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks H-C and BobTheGardener!

    I widened the circle around the tree to just over 80cm in diameter, incorporated some manure in the soil and a bit of rotten bark and covered with some bark chippings. We'll see what future brings but it looks like I should not expect to see much improvement until next season, right? 

    I understand that you exclude any infectious disease or pest to be blamed and I need to work on soil conditions + surrounding plants, is that correct?

    Thanks again for your help.


Sign In or Register to comment.