The Q&A Archives: New Yellow Bird magnolia not doing well

Question: I bought a Yelow Bird magnolia tree in May. They say that it is a fast growing tree but mine is not growing despite alot of watering (we have had a huge drought this summer)and the leaf edges are turning dark brown and folding. I have used some fertilizer. What can I do to save this tree before winter hits?

Answer: Unfortunately I am not able to tell you specifically what is wrong with your tree based on the information in your question. A newly planted tree would not grow too much the first year, it has to take time to become well rooted and established before it can direct energy into growing. A drought year combined with being newly planted is very stressful, too. These trees need an acidic, humusy, organic soil that is evenly moist yet well drained, meaning damp like a wrung out sponge (not sopping wet/saturated and not dry). Sometimes overwatering or underwatering can cause foliage problems, sometimes a nutrient deficiency can cause certain patterns of discoloration, overfertilizing can cause problems and sometimes, too, a disease or pest problem can cause foliage symptoms. I would strongly suggest you work with your professionally trained nursery staff and/or your county extension to try to deterine what is wrong with the tree and then knowing that, decide how to proceed. I hope it is nothing too serious.

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