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Magnolia Tree Yellowing

Q: This tree has been there for at least 12 years and has done well until lately. The leaves are yellowing and browning.

Could the neighbors use of "Round-Up" (instead of edging their backyard), be poisoning the ground soil and killing the tree? My Indian Hawthornes were 10 feet tall, made it through the winter (I live in Texas where weather is not harsh except for summers), in February it started to bud at the tips and by March it had turned completely brown! I have cut them down to the ground and hope they make it back.

By the way my neighbor expressed her dislike of where I had planted them, she has allergies and likes being in her backyard. My neighbors all around her back yard are finding yellowing and browning leaves on Crepe Myrtles and Langustrum bushes too. What can we do to protect our plants?

A: Round-Up does not do anything in the soil, it only acts within the plant. It is absorbed downward by the plant into the root system, but it doesn't leave the plant and enter the soil, so this is not what is happening.

However, it does sound suspicious that you, and other neighbors, are experiencing plant damage around one person's yard. I would suggest looking around your neighborhood to see if anything similar is happening elsewhere.

If it is, then maybe something happened area-wide that has effected your plants. Perhaps you had a late frost, which could account for the symptoms you describe.

If other plants in the neighborhood look OK, however, then you may have to investigate to see if something untoward has been done to your plants. This would be a highly-specialized instance, for which you should contact a Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA) in your area.

You can find an RCA in the Referral Directory at the American Society of Consulting Arborists' website at www.asca-consultants.org. Explain everything you know, and let the consultant decide a plan of action.

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Tom Mugridge

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