Southern Magnolia Tree Issues

Asked July 22, 2019, 7:02 PM EDT

Ha have a pretty good size southern magnolia that jut doesn't look very good. Seems a little sickly and I cant figure out whats wrong. Please wee the attached photos. Any advice would be helpful.

Washington County Oregon

3 Responses


The new growth looks pretty healthy. Is it being watered and have you applied any fertilizer? Generally, what will cause a nice tree like this to drop older leaves (which they do throughout the year anyway) is drought stress and/or nitrogen deficiency. The other possibility (it is only a possibility) is that the weather in February (when it got quite cold), did not agree with the plant and it has dropped the older leaves in response. Please feel free to write back to my email below with further comment a and questions. Thank You!

Hello Neil,

Thank you for your feedback in July regarding our Southern Magnolia. I am aware that the tree will drop leaves, but so much of it seems like it is dying. I have added more pictures because it seems to be getting worse. Any thoughts or referrals to find our what is going on and save the tree would be helpful.


Yes, the dieback is not normal. There are really no significant insect pests of these trees, so I'm not sure that is the cause. The disease problems listed in the PNW Disease Management Handbook for Magnolia are Bacterial Blight and Verticillium Wilt. These would cause significantly different symptoms. If you are observing shoot tip dieback in places it might be Bacterial Blight. If individual limbs are dying entirely, then it is likely Verticillium Wilt. Please contact me at my email address (below) with further details and maybe we can figure out why this stress is occurring.