Home Page

Plant Doctor Archive

Should I have moved my magnolia?

We recently had a large magnolia tree (stardia), 3.5 m high by about 3 m wide moved. We had sold off the land the tree was on but wanted to keep it as we planted it 23 years ago. I had a tree man in to move it. He did tell me that it was the wrong time of year to move this. However it seemed OK for about 3 weeks. Now it has lost a lot of leaves and some have gone brown. I gave it a huge trim and it seems to have stopped losing and going brown. The chap who moved it has now gone overseas on holiday for about a month. So can't check with him. Do you think it wil survive? I have another magnolia (stellata) if this one does die to put in its place. It's about 4 m high but not so wide. When is the correct time of year to do this just in case I have to?


Jim Antill, landscaping lecturer at UNITEC, says this:

A tree sheds leaves to reduce loss of water if it comes into water stress. This can happen because of drought, or because of root damage. When a tree is transplanted, root damage is inevitable. If the damage is slight, you may not notice any symptoms at all. If it loses all its roots, it will of course die of dehydration before it can grow new ones.

In between (such as your case), it may shed all its leaves, but grow more when it has extended enough new roots to supply enough water. From what you say, I reckon it's a raffle! Just wait and see. Make sure the ground is just nicely moist: WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T DROWN IT!! If the bark on the youngest twigs begins to shrivel, I'd say it's all over. You should know by Christmas.

As to shifting the stellata, any deciduous tree should be shifted in winter, when it's dormant, after its last leaves have dropped. That way it has maximum time to re-establish its roots before the spring demand comes on.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

Home | Journal | Newsletter | Conferences
Awards | Join RNZIH | RNZIH Directory | Links

© 2000–2022 Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
Last updated: June 27, 2005