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I have a magnolia 'Little Jem' that is about 4 years since I planted it in my backyard. It gets very good sunlight. However it is not flowering very well (see attached picture). I am in the San Francisco Bay Area. We had good rains so water is not the issue. Any suggestions as to what I should be doing?

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that picture looks like a bloom that's gone over. Sorry lots of questions, What happens to the blooms? I'm presuming it's the small variety of the large grandiflora? Where in your garden is it planted? for example in the middle of a flower bed/border or against a wall or fence. It likes a reasonably well drained soil and should have gone into a large well prepared planting hole. If you have very heavy clay soil, could the root ball be restricted? Magnolia are prone to root girdling, with roots trimmed before planting into final space.

  • It is planted in my side yard and is neither close to the fence or the house. It is a good 6 feet away from both. it is the smaller version of the magnolia. The blooms just fall off most of the times. Not sure if the soil is heavy clay. Any suggestions on what to do next? – JStorage Mar 21 '16 at 21:42
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    Investigate the soil. Best way is to dig a small, shallow hole and fill it with water. See how long it takes for the water to disappear. If it is heavy clay the water will sit in a pool for some minutes and may not completely soak in for a while. – Viv Mar 21 '16 at 22:08
  • If you do as Viv suggests, and the water remains in the hole, it's waterlogged. With no oxygen getting to the soil and may be in effect drowning. Remove plant, keep the roots well covered in a wet cloth to prevent roots from drying out, or temporarily put into large pot. Re dig the hole much much larger, use fresh soil with grit for drainage. establish that water will run away within a reasonable time and then replant. Water until re established. These tend to have a large root run. In keeping it away from the house or fence that's a good thing, if the blooms are forming that's good too. – user13638 Mar 21 '16 at 22:46

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