The Q&A Archives: Southern Magnolia Loss Of Leaves Over Winter

Question: Planted a southern magnolia tree late last summer. It did well right into the fall. Wintered very badly, losing most
of it's leaves. There looks to be new growth on it. Will it come back and grow this season? Is it normal for it to
loose it's leaves? What can I do to help it establish?

Answer: This plant suffers badly during the winter in an exposed or windy location. In general, it should be planted in a protected spot. In addition, since it is an evergreen, it is also stressful to plant it in the fall rather than the spring. This is because it continues to lose moisture all winter through its foliage and the roots are not yet well established enough to keep it hydrated.

SInce there is new growth, it may recover for you. It is important to keep the soil evenly moist yet not soggy and to protect it from wind. Maintain a layer of several inches of organic mulch over the root zone year round, this will help moderate the soil temperature, help maintain even moisture and keep down weeds.

You might also run some soil tests and fertilize as indicated by the results. Your county extension should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

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