Saucer Magnolia


We live around High Park area in Toronto (Zone 5 is my guess) and planted this Saucer Magnolia at the end of May.
We noticed that started to dent and dry out around the edges. It is also growing new leaves but the come out like covered in a thin white membrane outside. It doesn’t look normal to me.
We have been watering plenty every day and it is planted in a sunny area where a former small magnolia used to stand (we removed it last year because of a car bumped into her, but we did not removed the roots).
I can forward more pictures if needed.
Thanks for the help


It seems that your Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) is begining to exhibit leaf scorch, a classic symptom of transplant shock. Kudos for catching it so early. Even with your diligent watering, a number of other factors can still lead to the new tree’s roots not being able to take up enough water.

The way a tree is planted has a huge impact on the future health and proper establishment of the tree. We encourage you to go through our Planting a Tree: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide to see if best practices were followed when it was planted. In particular:

  • Were the container/burlap/wire basket etc. completely removed prior to planting?
  • Were the tree roots checked for health and presence of girdling roots? Any roots found girdling the root system must be removed, otherwise such roots will continue to grow in circles and eventually strangle the tree
  • Was the planting hole wide enough and, if you have heavy clay soil, were surrounding soil loosened enough to avoid creating a “bathtub” effect?
  • Is the tree planted at the correct depth? A tree should not be planted too deep—you should be able to see the trunk flare above ground
  • Was sufficient mulch (2-3 inches deep) placed around the tree (but not touching the trunk) to help conserve moisture and regulate soil temperature?

As for the “thin white membrane” surrounding the new leaves, these look like fine downy hairs that eventually wear off as the leaves mature. If, however, the appearance changes and you are still worried, please do not hesitate to write to us again with new photos and we will take another look.

We wish you the best of luck with your new saucer magnolia.