Southern Magnolia Leaves Have Turned Yellow At Top Of Tree

Question From: N. Monday - Lascassas, Tennessee, United States
Q: My nearly 30-year-old Southern Magnolia is ailing. The top third or more of the tree's leaves have turned yellow. I live in Middle Tennessee where there was a period of drought along with a long stretch of weather in the 90's every day. We had nineteen trees cut down in June, 2016, including a very large white pine which had shaded the backside of the magnolia and was invading it's space. I've read much online about fungus, insects, diseases, etc. that affect Magnolias, and that doesn't seem to be the problem. Any advice you can give me about saving this tree would be most appreciated.

A: My advice would be to have a professional, a certified arborist do an onsite inspection to the the tree. You mention that diseases or insects are not the problem. If you have had an arborist look at the tree and can't find an issue, your magnolia is probably dying from lack of water. In that case your best bet is to make sure it gets 1/2 inch of water weekly either by you or Mother Nature and hope for the best. To find a professional in your area go to and enter your zip code. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy