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Trees/magnolia tree


I have a magnolia tree that has been growing for approx. 7 years. It has never bloomed, although it has had little berries on it for a couple of years. This year I noticed it has big nodule like growths all over the branches. They have started splitting open, and there are little white spiky things protruding out of them. I can not find anything anywhere that tells me what these are. Can you please help me. I don't know if it's dying and I need to remove it, or if there's anything I can do to help it. I live in Central-Southern IL. and it's planted in an area where there is nothing else around it. Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks

Can you get any photos and send please.

I am guessing it is Nectria canker, a fungal growth caused by Neonectria (Nectria)galligena.  It is one of the common issues that can impact a magnolia.  (there are a couple of points in your message that do not quite align with what I might expect but this is the closest I can think of based upon information provided)

See below to confirm if my guess is accurate based upon what you see.

There is no cure for Nectria canker, other than removal and destruction of the infected limbs.  This process of infected removal is best done when the weather is cold enough or dry enough that the fungus is not able to infect the newly created pruning cuts/wounds.  However, assuming the diagnosis is accurate we do need to get that off the tree ASAP.  If this is Nectria canker, and if we do not work to remove infected areas the tree will eventually decline and die.

Nectria canker will typically only impact a tree already under stress, so we also need to ensure that we do what we can to increase vigor and lower any existing stress levels.  
a) ensure tree has adequate water and irrigation - especially when conditions are dry
b) unsure what your soils are like, but fertilization may be beneficial (I rarely call for fertilization - but something appears to be causing your tree stress)
c) if you do not mind the look cover the root zone with a layer of mulch - perhaps 3 inches deep (4 inches maximum) ensure mulch is not mounded up against trunk or preferably not touching the trunk (retain a small area close to trunk where mulch is minimal or absent).

Remove infected branches when the weather is too cold or dry for the fungus to infect the pruning wounds, and dispose of the debris away from the trees.  Irrigate when conditions are dry, fertilize if soils are deficient in minerals, prune to preserve sound branch structure, avoid wounding the bark, and maintain 2-3 inches of composted mulch over as much of the root zone as possible.

Please send photos and let me know what you think after reading link I have added above.


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Robin Wells


Most of my experience is in urban forestry and landscape environment. Questions related to tree identification, tree diseases or insect related problems, soil related issues or soil science, pruning techniques or practices, pesticide related questions, fertilization of trees or shrubs, tree support systems (cabling or bracing), tree planting, tree watering needs or tree risk assessment/management, although insect related we also have a specific area dealing with the emerald ash borer.


30 years work in urban forestry. Bachelor degree in forestry. ISA Certified Arborist. ISA Certified Tree Risk Assessor. Consulting Arborist. Ontario licensed pesticide applicator.

ISA Intrenational ISA Ontario Ontario Commercial Arborist Association Tree Care Industry Association American Society of Consulting Arborists

Midland Mirror ( newspaper )

Bachelor degree in forestry. Many other post university seminars and courses in Aboriculture.

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