Magnolia Tree Flowers Are Riddled With Holes With Black Rims And Buds Have Black Growths And Are Dropping Off Before Blooming

Question From: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, United States
Q: Something odd is getting into our magnolia's flower buds--not all of them, at least so far. It appears to be happening only to the buds on the lower portion of the tree but I can't be sure. About half of them now look like the attached photos. It seems to have developed gradually. A week ago, the buds matured to flowers but the flowers were riddled with holes with black rims. Now the buds have black areas with something that looks like a canker bulging slightly from the black area and the buds drop off before they can bloom. The attached example show one that has developed on the tip but sometimes the lesions are on the side. I don't see any insects. Any idea what it might be? I went to the local nurseries and they say they've never seen it. Thanks!
(Click Images To View Larger Versions)

A: I suggest you have an onsite inspection from a certified arborist. A bad guess could cost you your tree. To find a professional in your area go to and enter you zip code. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy