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Problem with my magnolia



  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,085

    It looks a bit sickly so I'm guessing either the soil's wrong for it, it's waterlogged or it's too dry. Has it established in the hole it's in? If it's a bit root bound when planted, the roots may not have been growing outwards into the space. 

    Can you give some more info and also a view of what else is around it? Photos would help with advice too. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • It's early yet and that central bud looks strong.  Magnolias like heavier soils, thin sandy and chalky ones are not the best, so they want plenty of good stuff dug in when planted. Give it a while to settle in.


  • image

    we have very heavy clay soil but before the nursery planted out lots of good stuff was dug in the ground first. So as the plants were planted in October 2016 they should be quite established in their root hole??? We are not sure how much time we should give it before pushing the nursery for a replacement plant as it was very expensive to have the border planted out in the first place and we have already had to replace 6 others.   imageimageimageimageimage

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,024

    It does look a bit yellow, which would back up Fairy's theory that the soil might not be quite right.  The RHS tells me young magnolia leaves are often yellowish, but if the old leaves yellow, there may be too much lime in your soil.  A soil test could be a good idea.

    The leaf next to the top bud could have caught the recent frost, by the look of it.

    I'd give it time to settle in.  Its roots won't have done much growing since October, and basically it looks ok to me - plenty of new leaf buds to come.  Fingers crossed!

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,902

    If you had to replace 6 others, it would seem it's a soil problem, nurseries don't usually give you bad plants,  garden centres maybe, but not nurseries. did they do a soil test before planting, they prefer acid soil. I'm sure they must have done, couldn't see a nursery just going ahead with the job, just a thought,

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • We think a soil test may be the answer, as the people who planted the border out supposedly with 30 years of experience in horticulture sold us loads of backs of rotted down manure to dig in at least 2 months before they come along to plant the border, so one would think that they would have brought some bags of good quality compost to dig in the hole before planting all the shrubs and the magnolia with some sort of slow release feed. But I watch and they didn't do anything like that, they just placed in position and planted straight from pot to ground. How do we do a soil test and what do we look for ??  

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Buy a soil test kit from the garden centre or online and follow the instructions. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 8,024

    You can buy a soil pH test kit quite cheaply from a garden centre.  The sort which has a test tube which you partly fill with soil before adding a test solution, works better than the soil probe sort.  Follow the instructions which come with it and you'll find out if your soil is acid, neutral or alkaline.  

    Provided the soil is fertile, with plenty of organic matter (which will have been provided by the manure), extra compost wouldn't have been necessary when planting.  Water is far more important at planting time than feed, too; I guess the gardeners will have encouraged you to keep the soil moist.  Magnolias are best fed in spring with a slow-release fertiliser, as their flower buds are beginning to swell.

    It's an evergreen magnolia, right?  Looks like magnolia grandiflora to me.  That one is quite a lime hater, others less so.  

    Are you in UK?  I couldn't grow this in Yorkshire but I guess you're in the south.  image

    Since 2019 I've lived in east Clare, in the west of Ireland.
  • We are south East, thank you for info regarding soil test we will do that as I think that just might be the answer to the problem. May I say a big thank you for all advice on my problem magnolia, it's helped a lot and hopefully will lead to a beautiful magnolia in the future, watch this space. ?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,861

    Just to say, use rainwater or distilled water for the soil test ... using tapwater which may be high in lime content would rather defeat the object ... but the instructions rarely tell you that image

    Last edited: 29 April 2017 16:08:17

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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