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Magnolia Rescue

HumbleBeeHumbleBee Posts: 105

Calling any Magnolia experts…  I have a Soulangeana which is beginning to lean quite substantially because one of the two central branches is twisted and growing almost horizontally across the other (photo below). As it’s a fairly big tree now and I presume beyond saving with any kind of stake, can I just cut off the whole of the crossing branch right down to the main trunk of the tree so I keep the relatively upright half of the tree? I have read you should keep pruning to a minimum and that too big a chunk in one go will kill them, but I can’t see any way of avoiding major surgery to try and save it. In which case is it best to chop it off now while the tree is dormant before leaves start weighing it down further?  image



  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,128

    Hello HumbleBee

    In all my years of gardening I've never killed a Magnolia by 'over-pruning' ; by all means get rid of the crossing branch asap !

    Prune accordingly but leave on enough developing flower buds ; reduce the height if you like by about one-third and thin out any crossing branches .

    They are surprisingly resilient . I have a 12 foot high Magnolia liliiflora 'Jane' which I prune as stated every second year ; it always responds with a good flower show in the early summer .

  • HumbleBeeHumbleBee Posts: 105

    Many thanks for the feedback @Paul - I'm glad to hear that they're not quite as sensitive as I thought. I've been worried about snipping even tiny bits off it as I keep seeing warnings about wayward watershoots and death-by-prunings! I'll be brave and go for the big chop - I guess at the end of the day it can't continue like this anyway or it will eventually end up on its side!  Many thanks 

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  • HumbleBeeHumbleBee Posts: 105

    Ah yes that’s a good idea - I haven’t tried taking cuttings before but I love this magnolia so it would be fun to see if I can do it! image

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