Magnolia Care Tips: Solutions to Common Problems

Solutions to Tree Problems From Brown Leaves to Buds Not Opening

magnolia tree in front of a home

The Spruce / Kara Riley 

Magnolia care starts with the identification of your tree. What type of magnolia tree do you have? For example:

Not every question can be fully answered without visiting the specific type of magnolia in its garden. However, these questions will help direct you in keeping your magnolia healthy and blooming profusely.

Common Magnolia Problems & Solutions

Q. The Flower Buds on My Magnolia Tree Aren't Opening Up. How come?

The failure to open is usually the result of poor weather conditions—too much rain or temperatures that are too cold. Another possible cause is an invasion by an insect called a thrip.

Q. This Fall, I've Found Some Funny-Looking Bumps on My Magnolia Trees. Is This Some Sort of Disease?

The "bumps" in this case turn out to be a false alarm. But it's an understandable mistake for a beginner. View the picture in this article to the false alarm that caused the worry; armed with this knowledge, you won't make the same mistake (there's plenty else to worry about without enduring false alarms, right?).

Q. I Have a Southern Magnolia. Its Leaves Have Turned Yellow. Is It Dying?

Southern magnolias are one of the grand trees of the South. When their leaves turn yellow, that may or may not be a sign of a problem. Click the link above to learn more.

Q. When Should You Prune Magnolia Trees?

The decision to prune a magnolia tree depends on many factors. The most important one is selecting the best time to prune so that blooming is not interrupted.

Q. I'm Growing a Magnolia Tree in a Container? How Should I Care for It?

Magnolias grown in containers require plenty of sunlight, proper nutritional supplements to the soil, and appropriate watering.

Q. How Do You Control Magnolia Scale?

Scale may appear as a fungus, but it actually an invasion of insects that must be brought under control or the entire tree can die.

Q. There's a Black Coating on My Specimen, and Ants Are Running All Over It. What's Wrong?

Don't assume that the ants and the black coating are the sources of the problem. They're actually both effects, not causes; consider their presence a signal for what's really wrong.

Q. My Magnolia's Leaves Developed Black Spots, Turned Brown and Fell Off. Help!

This problem may not be as dire as it sounds. In this FAQ I tell you how to address the issue. I also suggest ways to implement the principle that says, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Q. My Tree Now Has Dead Branches on It, After a Harsh Winter. How Much Should I Prune Off?

The presence of dead branches is a problem that can usher homeowners into a state of panic. But don't lose hope. Remain calm and apply a little scrutiny, following the steps I provide in this answer.

Q. The Leaves on My Magnolia Trees Have Turned Brown. Are My Specimens Dead?

The appearance of brown leaves out of season is always a troubling sight. Read the FAQ linked to above to learn why context is everything in addressing this problem.

Q. Would Dropping Coffee Grounds Around My Magnolia Tree Solve a Problem or Create One?

Coffee grounds can help supplement alkaline soil to increase acidity but does the soil around your magnolia tree need that supplement?

magnolia blossoms that haven't fully opened
The Spruce / Kara Riley

Watch Now: How to Prune a Tree

Article Sources
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  1. Magnolia. Clemson University Website