Saucer Magnolia


At the beginning I thought that it was a sort of a shock resulting from transplant. I inserted 3 sticks of fertilizer in the ground about 10 days ago, but I don’t see a big improvement. We asked the landscaper to plant it for us and I believe that that was our mistake. I don’t have much information on how the planting was made. Anyway, we just noticed that there is a sort of a clay in the ground and I am not sure if that is normal. Please help me to save my magnolia. The brand new leaves dry out as soon as they pop out. It doesn’t look healthy to me overall.
We live around High Park area and we water the tree plenty everyday. It is planted in a very sunshine spot.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. Your question about your newly-transplanted Saucer Magnolia not thriving is very interesting. I can offer some general guidelines that you may find helpful to launch your very pretty tree.

(But firstly, please can I reassure you that most of Toronto is built on a clay soil base. This means that it is very important that we improve our soil with the addition of organic matter (compost and manure).

The Saucer Magnolia likes well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Add some manure or compost around your tree like a donut (don’t let it touch the trunk bark). You can do this again in the Fall and next spring. Magnolias like to be well-watered especially when they are getting established. Make sure it does not dry out this summer. It is not a heavy feeder, so especially while it is getting established, don’t fertilize it again. You can fertilize it next spring, but try a liquid organic fish fertilizer that you water around the trunk (but not touching). They like good air circulation, so make sure there are no bushes or weeds growing close to it.

You can find some great advice for planting and care for blooming deciduous trees in this Toronto Master Gardeners Gardening Guide, and as well as this guide from the Magnolia Society.