The Q&A Archives: Dwarf southern magnolia

Question: My dwarf southern magnolia was planted 4 weeks ago and looked very healthy. This past week it has decided to turn some of it's leaves brown and dropping them. What's wrong??

Answer: It's possible that transplant stress is the reason for the browning, dropping leaves. Four weeks is a long time for the stress to show up, but the thick, leathery leaves of magnolia won't show the same type of wilt that more tender leaves might show. Adding to the confusion is the fact that magnolias naturally drop their oldest leaves in favor of developing healthy new leaves. If the problem gets worse or if you see no new growth at all, I'd suspect problems in the soil; not enough water or poor drainage. Watch for signs of new growth to reassure you that all is well with your new magnolia.

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