Ask a Question forum→need to identify and cure small magnolia tree's leaf problem year after year

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Name: Leon
Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
ddker
Jun 3, 2020 11:49 AM CST
Hi tree experts,

I have a small magnolia tree bought and planted 3-4 years ago in my front yard in Toronto Canada. Every year it gives 2-3 flowers maximum and last year it did give any flower, so I took it out and found and removed a few rocks around its root.

Every year after spring, its leaf is having dark spots, missing part of it like being eaten by insects. I tried using soapy water, this year tried dormant spray kit. Again the leaf starts to show problems like these pictures. Last year all the leaf falls and regrow back. it is a vicious cycle.

After these years, it didn't grow much (probably not at all). What kind of disease it is having, or it needs fertilizer? is there any insect attacking it, or fungi is growing on it?

Please help me to cure this tree, so it can be saved and grow again. BTW, when I bought it from costco it was the last one on the lot. Is it called Lily Magnolia?

Thank you for your time to read my first post!
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Jun 3, 2020 1:43 PM CST
My first thought is a Magnolia in Toronto? I figured it was too cold. And you are right on the edge. Some growers/vendors say zones 5-9, some say 6-9. This constantly growing on the edge in a cool spot may be the reason for slow, uneven growth.
I would not be too worried about a few little insects here and there.
I would not dig it up and disturb it again.
One thing that you might try is to protect it from winter winds. Wind chills may be a bit too harsh exposed in a front yard. I would also think about putting some chicken wire or turkey wire around the base of the plant and then fill this enclosure with two feet or so of leaves. The leaves might help to keep the root mass a little warmer.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Leon
Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
ddker
Jun 3, 2020 4:34 PM CST
Thank you BigBill! During winter I do worry about the harsh wind, but the thought slips away. I will try to wrap it this winter.

Just a few houses down the road, there are a few magnolia trees much bigger size. These trees are doing very well and give fabulous flowers first thing in the spring. Mine is struggling constantly. Hopefully next spring it can do well when I wrap it this fall.

Right now the tree is really in sorry state. Should I spray it with fungicide? Even the little leaf sprouts out is showing black spot and missing part of itself. Please see the picture showing the deformed leaf.


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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Jun 3, 2020 4:37 PM CST
I have no experience with magnolias. I hate to spray any chemical unless it is 110% needed.
Why not see if you can find one of those neighbors down the street and ask them what they do. Seems reasonable to me. Worth a shot.
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!

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