Q: These brown leaves on my magnolia happened this year and two years ago at the ends of some of the branches. What’s causing this?
A: To diagnose your problem, I walked across the street and looked at my neighbor?s magnolia. His tree has tufts of brown leaves like you do except they are mostly on the interior of his tree. I believe they died last year because there’s lots of healthy green growth beyond them on the branch tips.
In your case, my guess is that your tree put on a lot of new growth this spring. But we had a dry spell a few weeks ago and the magnolia tree decided to abort some of the branch tips in response.
Unless things become more severe on your tree, I think you can ignore the brown leaves.