Magnolia trees and mosquitos

Asked September 16, 2016, 8:50 AM EDT

I have an old magnolia tree that drops leaves year-round. This year I tried to manage the leaves by letting them pile up in a bed under the tree. However, the leaves and hold water. I suspect this is a breeding ground for mosquitos. Am I being overly cautious? Any other suggestions for managing this avalanche of leaves?

Jefferson County Kentucky

1 Response

Southern Magnolias have a habit of dropping leaves. In a naturalized area this would keep competing weeds or plants from growing too close and as these leaves eventually break down, seedlings of the magnolia have a rich soil in which to grow.

You are correct this environment can hold water and breed mosquitoes and attract moisture loving insects. To avoid this in an urban landscape either rake or remove the leaves weekly with a leaf blower during the months that mosquitoes are active. There really isn't another practical option other than removing the tree.

Feel free to contact our office if you have other questions.

Let me know if I can help you further!

Carol Wilder
Horticulture Technician
Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service
810 Barret Ave
Louisville KY 40204