The Q&A Archives: Magnolia x Galaxy - Planting and care instructions.

Question: I planted a Magnolia x Galaxy six weeks ago. I followed the directions for the hole size and mix miracle grow tree and shrub soil with the native soil. I covered the top with three to four inches of cedar mulch. The tree is eight to nine feet tall. The older leaves are beginning to turn yellow, but there are plenty of new shoots and leaves growing. However, some of the new leaves have burned edges. I watered the tree every day the first two weeks and four to five times a week since. Should I be concerned or is this normal for a new tree? Is there something I should add to the soil and should I continue to water all season?

Answer: This tree needs soil that is organic and acidic, and evenly moist -- yet well drained, meaning damp like a wrung out sponge rather than sopping wet or saturated. Yellow lower leaves and burned edges can be a sign of over watering and based on your description, I think you may be keeping the soil too wet. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp you do not need to water yet. When you do water, water slowly and thoroughly so it soaks down to encourage deep roots. (It is better to water deeply less often than lightly every day.) After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went; sometimes it can be surprising. Since this is a new tree I would also suggest you consult with the professional nursery staff where you purchased the tree, just to be sure. Enjoy your magnolia!

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