Care of Magnolia Trees


Magnolia trees are temperate trees and shrubs that originate from a family of more than 200 species. The trees range from small bushes to large, statuesque trees. Magnolias produce fragrant, dark-green foliage that is glossy and elongated. These trees bloom large, showy flowers, most with three to six petals. The flowers range in color from white to purplish hues. These trees are relatively easy to cultivate.

Step 1

Irrigate your magnolia tree deeply and infrequently to prevent overwatering. Ensure that the deep, underlying roots receive water. Provide the tree with enough water to reach about 18 inches below the surface. Irrigate your magnolia tree about once each week during hot, dry periods, as recommended by The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension service. Adjust the irrigation schedule for periods of rainfall and drought.

Step 2

Feed your magnolia tree three times each year, as recommended by Rockledge Gardens. Use a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer and distribute it evenly around the root zone of the tree. Keep the fertilizer at least a foot away from the trunk of your tree to prevent root burn. Apply the feed in the early spring, early summer and late summer.

Step 3

Prune your magnolia in the early spring to develop shape and maintain health. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to remove any dead, dying or wilted branches, twigs and stems. Make flush cuts to the base of the tree, as recommended by Southern Living magazine.

Step 4

Protect your magnolia tree's planting environment. Apply a layer of mulch around the diameter of the tree to protect soil moisture and reduce weed invasion. Remove weeds from the planting area as they appear. Pull the weeds from the root to prevent regrowth.

Step 5

Inspect the magnolia tree regularly for signs of disease and insect infestation. Look for signs of dieback, loss of vigor, fungal spots, premature defoliation and other signs of adverse health. Treat your tree's ailments immediately to prevent permanent damage or injury. Use a copper-based fungicidal spray in the early spring to treat or reduce the potential of fungal infections. Select an insecticide to eliminate insect infection and prevent the potential of repeat invasions.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Fungicidal spray (optional)
  • Insecticide (optional)
  • Water


  • The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension: Watering Trees and Shrubs
  • Rockledge Gardens: Magnolia
  • Southern Living: Magnolia Essential Southern Plant

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: Magnolia Questions and Answers
Keywords: growing magnolia trees, magnolia tree care, caring for magnolia, grow magnolia tree, proper magnolia care

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.