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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:20 am 
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This Little Gem magnolia was a 30-gallon tree planted approximately 6 years ago. It did well for a couple of years, but then leaf production started to drop off, and this year it is looking incredibly sparse. I asked about it at the nursery where the tree was purchased and was told this is simply the tree's natural cycle of dropping leaves and growing new ones, but that doesn't explain why overall leaf production (and flowers) have consistently decreased over the years. I am wondering if it is girdled, or maybe just not getting enough water, or maybe the soil is too alkaline for this tree? There is a lot of limestone close to the surface where we live (about an hour south of Dallas, TX), so maybe it's sitting in water? I am considering hiring someone to move the tree closer to the house, as it seems like trees planted further out generally do not do well. Any thoughts or ideas are welcome.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:05 pm 
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I'd be willing to bet it was planted incorrectly - too deep in the ground and without the roots being loosened and straightened from being in a pot that size for so long.

Take a look at this page http://www.dirtdoctor.com/Tree-Planting-Detail-Newsletter_vq1941.htm with a video that talks about how to plant a tree. If you didn't do it this way, then remediation has to take place now.

You'll need to carefully pull back the dirt around the bole and expose the root flare, and deal with any circling or girdling roots you encounter. You will need to do the sick tree treatment. Look all of these up in the LIBRARY.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:28 pm 
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I didn't plant it, so I don't have any idea if it was done correctly. The nursery planted it, so I would hope it was done correctly, but of course...you know how that goes. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:47 pm 
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The answer is that the nursery probably didn't plant it correctly. They probably added stuff to the native soil, probably put it in too deep. And they wouldn't know that there was probably extra dirt scooped into the pot by the original grower to make it look like there was more to the root ball than there really was.

Can you take a much closer photo of the base of the tree and post it?

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Yep, here we go. I had started to pull some of the dirt back already. Not sure what I'm looking at, but it looks like a whole lotta roots where maybe they shouldn't be. :(


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:48 pm 
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It looks like it was a bit too deep, and some of the roots might be "adventitious" - the sort that grow where they don't belong.

Give the Sick Tree Treatment a try to start with. Don't push dirt back onto that base.

I looked for photos online but only find the nursery sort and nothing with it "in the wild" to show what the base should look like. Here is some general information about Little Gem from the U of Florida.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Will try that - thanks so much!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:51 pm 
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With magnolia trees, the roots need shade, lots of it, a good layer of mulch over the root zone will help with this.


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