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Pruning Information

Evening again! Just asking all those questions I've meant to for a while as I've managed to beat the technology and get photos onto computer.image A friend has a row of what they think are magnolias. Are they? They have got to tall blocking out the light, they want me to prune them but unsure as to when and how. Thanks again in advance for your help.




  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    They are best pruned in leaf and not in winter and early spring. To reduce height, prune a few branches hard back and and the remaining reduce the length of stems to the height you need it to be.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    The trouble with magnolias is that they do not like being pruned and are likely to produce a lot of unproductive 'water shoots'.

  • Yes I did look up before posting and saw they didn't like pruning, but they are too big, really in the wrong place but have been in a long time. Posted because I thought someone might have a hopeful story about having done it and it still flowering even if height was kept reduced. image

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,017

    Have a look at what the RHS says about pruning and training.  You may get away with re-shaping and training them but the owners will then need to remove any water shoots to keep them looking good and flwoering.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks Obelisk, I've already read that bit of advice, I will take a look at them again after spring and see what can be done. They haven't flowered, are they definitely magnolia, anyone ??

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Magnolias usually flower in the early spring time before leaves emerge. Sometimes again during the summer time. How long have you been looking after this garden? Maybe another photo a little further back as it's a little blurry.

  • I don't think it's deciduous wouldn't it be losing leaves by now or at least turning colour?I thought evergreens flowered later, I think I was there last spring and I've not seen any flowers. Only other picture is this showing lower half. Thanks for reading and helping out everyone


  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,146

    I have a 10' high Magnolia liliiflora 'Susan' . Periodically I summer prune (after flowering) , lopping off a couple of branches here and there , and taking back  most others back to decent strong side-shoots . I do this normally every second year (in August) , thinning out the middle to let light in .

    This way I keep it as a small tree with a solitary trunk , and it flowers well every year .

  • Thanks Paul, I will give it ago next summer. My friends bought the house about a year or so ago and it has big gardens and woods. There are a lot of big trees behind the magnolias so they are sheltered but I do wonder is there is too much shade which is why they've not flowered. Would di the worth feeding them thing or mulching with string? your thoughts are much appreciated.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,017

    It's worth feeding anything that isn't performing and that you'd like to keep.   You should wait for rain so the soil is moist and also clear any weeds or grass from the base as these compete for nutrients and moisture.  Then you can add a generous layer of well-rotted garden compost and/or manure.  You could also pour on ericaceous compost to help them - if they are indeed magnolias.   Do not use mushroom compost as this is alkaline and will harm them.

    That will help them over the winter.  Next spring, give them a generous handful each of pelleted chicken manure or blood, fish and bone and some more mulch.   This way you feed the soil and its organisms rather than giving a quick chemical fix and you'll end up with healthier plants.   To encourage flowering, water with liquid rose or tomato food in spring but make sure you use rain water if the tap water is hard.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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