Q: I am upset because my magnolia is dropping leaves although it seems to be putting out plenty of flowers. All the leaves are not dropping but it does seem to be losing more than normal. Should I be worried?
A: It takes a lot of energy for trees and shrubs to flower which often causes the plant to drop some of its leaves. Magnolias are notorious for leaf drop just before flowering. It is especially noticeable on evergreen trees that produce large leaves and create a mess when numerous leaves appear to drop at one time. This is not something you need to worry about since the tree will put out new leaves once the flowering process has ended.
However, if most or all of the leaves drop then we should look at some other causes and truly be concerned about the overall health of the tree. This might be a good time to lightly mulch the area underneath the magnolia with pine straw or pine bark to ensure the soil does not become too compacted. Compacted soil limits the amount of oxygen to the root area and can cause serious problems for trees and shrubs. Mulching this area will also help keep the weed populations down and improve the overall look of the barren area under the tree.