Brown Deciduous Magnolia & Roses Shoots

Question:

My deciduous Magnolia has turned all brown. The water was off during a recent heat spell, and I could not get out to water it. Is my tree really dead, or will it come back if it is watered several times a week? Is cutting it down to the ground, leaving the roots a doable option?

Answer:

  •  I'm not sure what the status is with your Magnolia.
  • Besides the leaves, the outer stems and branches were most likely damaged, but I am not sure how far back the dieback extends. The function of roots is to pump water and nutrients throughout the plant. Plants then release the moisture into the air through a process called transpiration. Water stress occurs when insufficient water is available to keep a plant hydrated. It always appears on the outermost portion of a plant leaf or the leaves and proceeds inward. The leaves first wilt and then turns brown.
    • If caught early enough, only a portion of the leaves are burnt; otherwise, all the foliage turns brown and gets crispy.
    • Next, the stems, twigs, and branches that support the leaves are effective again, starting at the furthest point and working inward towards the base. If there isn't enough water, the roots push the moisture as far as it can go, and the tissue beyond that point dies.
    • The dead growth will snap off with a brown plant while the viable stems are still flexible. I'd scratch the bark on the branches at different points to see if they're green. If so, you're okay. Next, prune off all the dead growth above these points.
  •  The growing season is over for Magnolias, so that I wouldn't expect any new growth this year. If there are signs of life, I would continue to water it but sparingly. Without leaves or branches, the roots have nowhere to pump the water and eternally rot.
  • If the stems and branches are still green, then the burnt leaves will drop off, and a new set will emerge in the spring. It should be fed in March with an all-purpose organic fertilizer to encourage new growth.
  • As a last resort, cut the plant off at the ground and wait to see what happens next spring. You might be surprised, but I'd prepared to replace it with a new plant if nothing happens by Easter. 

Question:

My rose bush was flattened when my neighbor's tree fell on it. I now have shoots coming up from the root area. Will they continue to produce beautiful flowers as in the past?

Answer:

  • Most roses are budded onto another rose or rootstock, so they're not growing on their own root. This new growth is vigorous, sending out long arching branches or shoots. A cherry red flower with seven to nine petals develops at the terminal end of these shoots. So I would lower your expectation.
  • There is a slight chance that your desirable rose survived, but you'll have to wait and see.