Magnolia Leaves Turning Yellow And Some Have Gray Patches

Question From: D. Shanley - Delmar, New York, United States
Q: I had a 6 foot(+/-) Jane Magnolia shrub planted in an almost exclusively sunny location last August. This spring it looked healthy and had many beautiful flowers. I live in upstate NY and we had a very wet spring and early summer, then a short hot dry spell, and then over the last month, a more normal summer weather pattern with generally a rain storm per week. The problem is since late spring, early summer my magnolia plant has slowly been fading. It's lost leaves. Many leaves are partially yellow; some are predominately yellow. Many yellow leaves also have grey patches. Many leaves are predominately grey. Even the leaves that are green don't look healthy. Two weeks ago I added Tree-Tone Organic Fruit and Shade Tree Food and watered in. The plant is in sandy soil and for the last month I have been watering with a lawn hose at its base (slow water flow) for approximately 15 minutes every third or fourth day. Not sure what else to do. Thanks for any help you can give.

A: Fertilizer will not help a tree in stress. The gray sounds like powdery mildew. Sounds like lack of water to me. A new tree planted in sand needs one and one half inch of water a week. In hot weather two would be better. A drip from a hose end will not water the area around the tree. In sand water does not spread out. I to find out how long it takes to accumulate that amount of water. I recommend you get a soaker hose. Go to how to water trees at for more information. Mulching around the tree with 3 to 4 inches of wood chips will also help. Check our how to mulch trees on Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.