KC Gardens

Magnolia bush with fewer buds and leaves

Magnolia bush


I have a magnolia bush that is about 10 years old. It has progressively had fewer buds and leaves the last few years. This summer it is about 80% bare and the few leaves lack the normal dark, leathery look. Not sure about fertilizer? Trimming? It gets full sun in the morning and around 1:00 is in the shade of an oak tree. - Kyle -


  1. 8 months, 1 week ago

    Sad to say, but it sounds like your magnolia bush has been declining for some time.

    When a plant is under stress it is generally not a good idea to fertilize, as the fertilizer pushes the plant to grow when it is already weak.

    Check for good flexible branches and prune out any dead. The sun exposure should be fine, but you might consider drainage, and how much it was irrigated back to two years ago.

    My guess is that the cause of the decline is environmental factos, but I would take a branch sample to your local extension service, a live branch sample, for further analysis.

    If the bush has a lot of dead wood and the shape has been affected greatly, it might be time to replace it.

    Carole Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

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