For starters, Magnolia trees love acidic based soils and unfortunately, for Magnolia tree lovers, Las Vegas has alkaline based native soil and alkaline based water.
Starting from this standpoint of knowledge about our water and soil its obvious you can’t just open up a hole in Las Vegas and plop a Magnolia tree in that hole straight out of its growing container.
Before you place any tree in any hole that you open up in Las Vegas’ soil you should mix up some planting soil that is made up of reject sand and mulch mixture first and place that mixture in the hole to provide a nice thick pad for the bottom of the root ball to sit on.
When planting a Magnolia, it is important that you mix some soil conditioners in your planting mix to change the PH of your planting soil that you are placing in the hole along with your Magnolia.
Some soil conditioners that you can use are: Peat Moss and or a product called Con-Gro, which is a liquid based product.
You can buy both material products from your local Star Nursery in Las Vegas.
Peat Moss is usually sold in cubes. When you use the peat moss for your Magnolia Tree soil conditioning just break off about half of a cube and mix it in with your soil that you’re planting your Magnolia tree with.
If you decide to use the Con-Gro, just follow the directions on the side of the bottle, mix it up with some water and pour it around the base of your Magnolia.
If you decide to go the Con-Gro route, I’d recommend re-conditioning your soil every 8-12 months depending on how the leaves on your Magnolia tree appear. Do the leaves on your magnolia tree have black and brown spots on them? Or maybe browned crispy edges on the leaves? If so, these could be signs of a high PH in which you can use the Con-Gro or another acidic based soil conditioner to put around the base of the tree. By doing so, you can expect to see a change in the appearance of the tree within a 4 to 6 week time frame (during growing season).
I hope this post helps you in your healthy looking Magnolia tree planting efforts.
I ended up learning the hard way with planting Magnolias out here in the Las Vegas desert by losing a couple trees that I thought were diseased from the get go because I bought them, planted them and watched them slowly become un-healthy looking…
Of course I had to experiment and educate myself on how to grow and maintain super healthy looking Magnolias through education, trial and error until I found the right formula.
That formula is simply conditioning the soil as explained above plus regular fertilization along with all of the other plants in your yard.
Here is a picture of one healthy looking Magnolia tree that was actually experiencing hard times after first being planted. We quickly implemented the two-part formula mentioned above with soil conditioning and fertilization and within a few months the tree was growing beautifully. Check out the close up of a leaf on the tree below.
Notice how there are no burnt edges or in this close up, the leaf is not curled.