My Little Gem Magnolias (three of them, about 6-8 feet each and planted in 2016) took a terrible hit last winter. I assumed they were dead. I dug them up, but rather than compost them, I "replanted" them in the back yard, thinking the birds would enjoy them as perches. They are nicely structured and, even "dead," have a pleasing look. At least to me.... While weeding and mulching a few weeks back, I noticed that two of the three had started to sprout small leaves--first at the base of the tree and now up the trunk and also in some of the branches. They are coming back, to my great amazement. (My fingers are crossed for the third.) Because I thought they were gone, they were planted in a very shady area. My question is: should I transplant them now to a sunnier spot that will give them more energy from the sun or will it be better to let them stay in this shadier spot for the summer and move them in the fall, when it's cooler and they have had a few more months recovery time? Thanks for your guidance on this!
If they are not in total shade, we would recommend that you wait to transplant them in the spring. Fall is not a good time to transplant broad-leaved evergreens.
If they are getting some sunlight now, it is probably better to let them recover a bit from the winter damage and transplanting they have already endured. And, by next spring you'll see it they are vigorous enough to warrant replanting in your landscape.
If in total shade, transplant immediately.