The Rockdale Gardener

Gardening Posts From Rockdale Cooperative Extension

Magnolias and hollies dropping leaves

Each spring we County Agents get questions about magnolias and other broadleaf evergreen plants such as hollies dropping leaves.

We generally call this phenomena ‘evergreen leaf drop’.

Deciduous plants such as oak trees drop all of their leaves each year…all at once. Evergreen plants such as magnolias drop all of their leaves each year too. They generally drop their leaves a few at the time. Sometimes though, evergreens will get stressed and dump many of their leaves all at once. For instance, Spring 2016 has turned out to be particularly dry. This factor is likely stressing the trees causing them to get rid of their old unproductive leaves.

Generally, if the tree in question has live buds at the end of the branches where the leaves are falling then I would predict the plant will recover. I generally recommend the addition of slow-release fertilizer  at the rate recommended on the bag to give the tree a boost. Also, irrigation is critical to keeping the tree healthy.

Photos by Brenda Jackson, 

CEC & Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent Murray County Extension