Magnolia trees are a true southern gem, appearing each spring like a herald to produce their trademark ivory blossoms, they are generally considered easy to grow and care for, but can struggle when it comes to certain diseases. The most common issues that can plague magnolia trees and their caregivers are verticillium wilt, leaf spot, nectria canker, and leaf blight. With each comes the race against time to stamp out the fire of infection before additional areas of the tree become infected. Learn from experts about common disease that affect magnolia trees.
Verticillium wilt will make its appearance felt as the verticillium fungus makes its way into the leaves, causing them to turn brown and literally collapse inward, the detach from the branch and fall to the ground. Affected branches will become discolored and then suddenly detach from the tree, creating hazards on multiple levels.
Leaf spot appears first as small dots or spots on the tops of leaves, ranging in color from yellow to brown to black. As leaf spot spreads infected leaves turn color in a connect-the-dots fashion, falling from the tree and leaving bare spots along the limbs.
Nectria canker causes cankers, or lesions, to form on trunks, branches, and stems. As the cankers spread further, the tree begins to sicken and will eventually die.
Leaf blight is a prime suspect when fungus begins to mat or cover undersides of leaves with a thick white threading. Leaves will begin to appear as if they are stuck together, and eventually will fall from the branches in clumps.
Experts agree that proper pruning, watering and fertilization practices are the number one defense against common disease that affect magnolia trees. Removal of affected foliage combined with application of fungal or pesticide sprays or oils can also assist.