What is wrong and how can I help the tree to recover?
I'd need some more context and background before competently commenting.
**Show the whole plant, and relate what species/clone it is.
**How old is it.
**What are the soils, sun exposure, moisture conditions it is growing in.
**Recent weather conditions - hurricane, flooding, extended drought, ice storm, etc.
**Recent activities in the vicinity - utility trenching, patio construction, toxic chemical waste disposal, etc.
Not trying to be (too) funny...little things like someone rinsing a bucket of house cleaning materials, or herbicide mixing container, or parking a leaky car engine nearby can have these unexpected consequences. Bigger things - like consistently higher rainfall keeping ground saturated for unusual lengths of time; ice/snow burdens creating extensive but hairline cracks in branches; and extended periods of wind thrashing disturbing rooting connections underground - all these recede in memory when the plant "survives" the immediate event, but slowly succumbs to the death of a thousand small cuts.
Like slight but regular mower/weedeater damage on tree trunks....
It sure is showing a lot of fruit production - is that the usual case? Maybe it's allergic to those showy Iris there.
I agree with everything ViburnumValley has mentioned. Excessive flowering is a sign the plant thinks it'll be toast (reproduce before dying). Something's up so do a good walk around the tree taking photos of anything suspicious. Magnolia CSI.
Thanks for the advice and the humor!
It is the typical Magnolia Soulangiana, in the garden, nowhere near any driveways, in a flower bed, and has been there about 15 years. It gets full sun. We have had a lot of rainfall this month! No utility work, no trenching, no construction of any kind. No waste disposal.
1. The location. No plants around it have been moved for many years.
2. It does have a lot of flowers!
Could it just be the excessive rainfall we've had this month - almost 9"?
I will take a walk around it and take photos. I would hate for anything to hurt it.
What would I look for to see signs of recovery? Spring 2014?
Do we need to call CSI Agent Gibbs in on the case? If so, let me know so I can get "dolled up".
Real quick question. Were there any late frosts & rains around the time of the blooms? If so, the emerging leaves may have frost damage.
Agent Gibbs is NCIS. CSI would be Grissom or Ted Danson. Is this Naval?
I want Gibbs!
You may have the answer. There were no killing frosts but the temperature hit 33 degrees on the night of May 12th. This shows the last bloom on 5/5 and the new leaves appear to have been fine - no problems. So, it was just a week later when we had the very cold night. No annuals died but some did lose leaves.
Thanks for your help, Agent Growin!
I think Pirl likes Mark Harmon (***giggles***). I like Dr. Gilbert Arthur "Gil" Grissom. He'd be great at plant ID!
I've seen that damage around here due to frost just as the leaves are emerging, particularly when it has just rained and it is followed by frost.
Something else to rule out, girdling root. Age of the tree and general decline indicate that, Just a guess.
I'll take Gibbs and might not garden anymore if I had him here! Call it a senior citizen crush. We're allowed to dream, right?
Guess I'll go with the frosty night as the problem. I did take photos today and it made me happy to see the newer leaves have no sign of the black marks. Thanks, Mike.
Thanks for your response, Herman. We checked carefully as we planted this magnolia since other trees, planted (by the Town) long before we bought this house, have had girdled roots.