What Eats a Magnolia Tree?

Updated April 17, 2017

Native to southern Asia and the eastern United States, over 80 species of magnolia tree grow in yards and gardens across the globe. While the magnolia is more resilient to pests than other tree species, some insects and animals eat portions of the tree.


According to the United States National Arboretum, migrating songbirds eat magnolia seeds. A fleshy, high-fat aril protects each seed, providing birds with a vital energy source.

Magnolia Scale

A scale insect referred to as the magnolia scale feeds on the sap of magnolia trunks and branches. These insects look like soft pink or brown bumps and leave a shiny mucus trail that can attract other insects or sooty mould.

Magnolia Borer

The magnolia borer eats magnolia trees by boring into the living, woody tissues of the roots. Adults lay eggs on the tree, and the emerging larvae bore into the tree's roots. As the beetles mature, they continue to eat the roots until they turn into a soft, spongy mass.

Other Insects

Many insects target specific portions of the magnolia tree to eat. The tulip poplar weevil and leafminer eat the leaves of the magnolia tree, while greenhouse thrips and hoplia beetle eat only the buds and blossoms. Aphids and mealybugs feed on the sap hidden within branches and trunks.

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About the Author

Jessica Alzarana has a Bachelor of Music in music composition from the University of North Texas and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in music therapy from Texas Woman's University. Alzarana essays have been published by UNICEF State of the World Children's Report & BootsNAll.