Dwarf Southern Magnolia - Knowledgebase Question

Fernandina Beach, FL
Avatar for TSabato
Question by TSabato
September 27, 2006
Hi! We have a Dwarf Southern Magnolia (DSM) that we purchased 9 yrs ago to celebrate the birth of our daughter. For the first 8 yrs, we were not permanent and had the tree in planters. We replanted it every couple years to a larger pot. Last year we purchased a house in NE Florida, 1 block from the ocean, and finally planted the tree in our yard. After we first planted it, it did fine. However, lately it just seems a little sad and dormant. It did not bloom hardly at all this summer. When we planted it, we dug a very large hole and put soil and cow manure in to help with all the sand in our yard. It doesn't look like it's dying, but it doesn't seem to be growing. It is in direct sunlight for most of the day. What are we doing wrong? Should we replant it or fertilize it? If so, when and with what. Please help us. This tree has much sentimental value and we would hate to lose it!!!!


Terrie Sabato

Answer from NGA
September 27, 2006

It may be struggling with the salty breezes or perhaps while in a pot the roots circled the trunk and now have grown larger and are strangling the trunk. Dig down about 6 inches aroun the trunk to see if this is the case. If you cut the roots and remove them the plant may recover in time. If the problem is the salty air there is little you can do. If it is a lack of water then you may want to put a thick mulch all around the plant and water enough to keep the soil moist. Some light fertilizing (one cup of turf food per 50 square feet) every few weeks for a few months would be helpful also.

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