Posted: 07/05/2014 at 14:28
Poor thing's half starved and probably parched as well - he needs to create a circle of bare soil about 3ft in diameter around the trunk - that grass is taking all the nutrient and moisture. It's no wonder it's struggling.
When he's removed a circle of grass he should feed it now and again in the autumn with a slow release fertiliser - Fish Blood & Bone is what I use for most things - apply according to the directions on the pack - then a thorough watering of rainwater or limefree tapwater - several buckets full in the first instance - and then a generous mulching with organic material - well-rotted organic farmyard manure from the garden centre is what I use.
Then throughout the summer a bucketful of water twice a week, more often in hot dry spells.
He'll have a much happier magnolia next year and one to be proud of in a couple of years' time.
Ask him how well he'd be performing if someone else was having all his food and water