What Is Eating My Magnolia Leaves? - Know Here

Written By James
Updated May 1, 2022 by James

What Is Eating My Magnolia Leaves? - Know Here

What's eating the leaves on your magnolia tree?

One of the reasons is the infestations of scale insects that eat leaves of plants and trees. These pests are in moist areas, such as under eaves or windows.

They can also be found on the undersides of leaves or along branches. Scale insects have a hard exoskeleton and feed by sucking sap from the leaves.

Other winged insects love to eat ornamental plants and beautiful flowers, including bees, wasps, beetles, Japanese beetle, butterflies and moths.

The most common pest insect is the mealybug. It looks like tiny greenish-white flies with black dots on their wings.

Vine weevils

Adult weevils eat the buds, blossoms and fruits of many different plants. They lay eggs inside the plant.

The larvae then hatch out and eat the plant tissue.

If you find vine weevil damage, it may be because they were attracted to the dead branches of your magnolia tree. Remove all the deadwood and prune back any remaining shoots if this happens.

You should also check for signs of aphids. Aphids suck juices from plants and cause them to wilt.


The caterpillars eat leaves with holes in them. The spots look like minor cuts.

Caterpillars often leave behind frass (faeces) when feeding.

It is where the name "caterpillar" comes from it. Frass is usually brown and sticky.

You can use some protection against caterpillars if you notice them eating your magnolia tree. You could try spraying the leaves with water mixed with an organic pesticide.

Or you could spray the area around the tree's base with a non-toxic soap solution. 

Adult beetles

Persistent beetles can chew holes into the bark of your magnolia tree and make it vulnerable to disease.

These beetles are known as bark beetles.

Bark beetles are not harmful to your magnolia tree. But, they do carry diseases that affect other trees and shrubs.

Bark beetles are sometimes called "redheaded woodpeckers". There are several species of bark beetles.

Most of these beetles live in the soil and only come up when food is available.

Bacterial blight

This disease causes the yellowing of leaves and stems. It can spread through the tree and kill young growth.

Infection occurs when the bacteria enter through wounds made by insects or animals.

There are two main types of bacterial blight:

(1) Leaf spot – This bacterial blight affects the leaves.

(2) Crown rot - This type of bacterial blight attacks the tree's roots.

Bacterial blight is by bacteria that enter through wounds made by chewing insects.


Leafhoppers are tiny bugs that hop around on the surface of leaves.

They are about 1/8 inch long.

Leafhopper nymphs are smaller than adults.

They are hopping around on the underside of leaves.

Leafhopping is harmless to your magnolia tree, but it can attract other feathery wings types of insects such as ladybirds and hoverflies.

Ladybird Beetles

Ladybirds are beneficial predators of leafhoppers.

They feed on both adult and larval stages of leafhoppers. Ladybirds are generally near ponds, streams and rivers.

Their segmented bodies, large eyes and shiny red spots on their backs make them easy to identify.

Why do predator insects eat leaves?

The predatory insects eat the leaves because they need protein for growth and development.

For example, the caterpillars in your garden centres need protein to grow into adult butterflies.

The fluids of magnolia trees produce a delicate plant tissue that can provide natural nutrients to many insects.

Some unhealthy tree or tree leaf problems include:

  • Root rot

Fungal root rot is due to fungi that feed off the roots' sugars.

If the fungus gets too much sugar, then the roots will die.

  • Leaf spots

Fungal infections cause leaf spots. They appear as dark areas on the leaves.

Many different kinds of fungi may have infected your magnolia tree.

Sometimes the problem is so bad that the entire leaf dies.

  • Disease

A disease is any abnormal condition of a plant or animal.

It is by one or more organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.) that attack the plant or animal.

  • Mildew

Mildew is an infection of plants caused by microscopic fungi.

It appears as white patches on the leaves and stems.

Mildew spreads and can cause severe damage if left untreated.

  • Powdery mildew

Powdery mildews are tiny moulds that infect many types of plants.

These moulds secrete a waxy substance that covers the leaves.

  • Honey fungus

Honey fungus is a common name given to certain fungi that grow on honeydew excretions from aphids.

  • Black spot

It is a fungal infection of the bark of the trunk.

The black spots are dead cells that have turned brownish-black.

  • Fungus gnats

Fungus gnat larvae live inside decaying wood. When they mature, they leave the wood.

If you see these flying insects, try not to disturb them. You can use insecticides to control this pest.

  • Aphids

Aphids are soft-bodied insects with green body parts and yellow legs.

They suck the sap out of plants using unique mouthparts called stylets.

Aphids also spread diseases like mealybug and powdery mildew.

How to control parasitic insects in the vigorous magnolia tree?

If you want to keep them free of these heavy infestations, it is essential to remove dead leaves before they fall off the tree.

The leaves on magnolia trees are beautiful to many types of tiny, moth-like insects.

It would be best if you also sprayed the tree with an insecticide. It will kill significant scale insect infections and prevent more damage.

Insecticides are available at home improvement stores and online. You may find a product called "Tree Insect Spray", which is safe for use around children and pets.

The level of infestation will subside over time.

Yet, you may have to repeat the process every few years.

  • Cut infected branches

Cutting the infected branches can stop branch dieback and avoid parasitic wasps laying their eggs inside the tree trunk.

  • Remove diseased leaves

It is best to cut away all the damaged leaves. They can harbour bacteria and fungi that can spread to healthy parts of the tree.

Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut the leaves away.

Use a clean cloth to wipe up any liquid that might drip onto the ground below.

  • Keep the area clear of debris.

Make sure the area around the tree is kept clear of fallen leaves and twigs. These can become breeding grounds for pests.

It includes areas near the house and driveway.

  • Watering 

Watering your plants can prevent verticillium wilt and spider mite.

Follow these tips to maintain your magnolia tree trunk and other stunning trees, favourite plants, and fragrant flowers.

Last words

You can use organic plant spray to protect your magnolia leaves against disease and insects.

You can also use insecticides to treat the problem.

You can also prune your magnolia tree to improve its appearance.

Follow the instructions so that you do not harm your beautiful magnolia tree.

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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