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Next doors Magnolia

I have a beautiful magnolia in my garden which I have trimmed for years. It is at a reasonably manageable height and almost sculpted into a globe shape. I initially thought that clipping the tree into this shape would harm it, but it still produces a nice display of large flowers during the spring.

However. Next door has the same species but shall we say he has let it go somewhat. In short it is now very large and along with various other overgrown shrubs now casts almost permanent shade in my garden during summer and autumn afternoons.

I had a friendly chat with the neighbour last weekend as I was giving my magnolia its final trim of the year. He more or less suggested I do what I like with his overgrown shrubs.

On average, his shrubs/border is over 18 ft tall. If I were take loppers/hedgetrimmer etc to it now and be quite brutal, say removing around 8 ft of growth, would this cause any irreversible damage to his large border? I feel I should be sympathetic with his magnolia and shape it somewhat, as well as the other shrubs growing as essentially I don't wish to create a hedge.  
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,474
    He probably sees you as the handy 'free' gardener @Digweed51 ;)
    What sorts of shrubs are they - do you know? It might be easier to just make them a hedge - easier for you anyway. You're unlikely to do any serious damage, but it would help if you can give us an idea of the various types.

    The magnolia woul dcertainly be best treated like your own. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,460
    I would probably aim to reduce the Magnolia's crown - removing the branches that create the worst problems for you, while keeping an open, branching form that looks natural - but a photo or two would help!
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,633
    What and when you cut back depends very much on the shrubs and their growing habits.

    Can't help much with the magnolia as I couldn't grow them in my last garden and have spent the last 3 years trying to revive and re-invigorate the sickly specimen we inherited here.  

    I do know that agressive pruning of magnolias can lead to water shoots so it has to be done with care and at the right time of year.  Have a look at this advice from the RHS - https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/popular/magnolia/growing-guide 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BrexiteerBrexiteer Birmingham Posts: 955
    Your neighbour is obviously not a gardening person and has just let these run wild. If you chop them all down are they expecting you to shift the offcuts which will be a big issue
  • Your neighbour is obviously not a gardening person and has just let these run wild. If you chop them all down are they expecting you to shift the offcuts which will be a big issue
    Good question.
    I just bought a shredder recently. Would certainly bulk up my forthcoming compost heap I assume?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,474
    A chipper would probably be worthwhile for you @Digweed51, especially if you're going to continue the maintenance. Legally - you're supposed to offer them back to the owner of the branches, but in your case, I expect you've come to an arrangement. In future, there won't be as much material if you're doing the pruning.
    Perhaps the neighbour would chip in [d'you see what I did there?] and help with payment for a chipper?  :)
    I think @Obelixx has made a good point about the magnolia too. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,518
    edited October 2019
    Digweed51 said:
    ....,I had a friendly chat with the neighbour last weekend as I was giving my magnolia its final trim of the year. He more or less suggested I do what I like with his overgrown shrubs.


    Great to hear of examples of neighbourly cooperation 😊 

    We tend to heat about examples of aggression and unfriendliness ... i think that in most cases it takes two to tango 😉 

    However,  @obelixx and @Fairygirl are right ... we’ve had several queries about dealing with water shoots on magnolias over the years. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • BrexiteerBrexiteer Birmingham Posts: 955
    Save yourself the bother of asking the neighbour to contribute towards the cost of a chipper. The second word will probably be off
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,474
    If the magnolia is severely overgrown, and it sounds as if it is, doing it in stages is usually the best solution.
    I wonder if @Digweed51 has a photo of the area in question? That would help with advice on it.
    Unless he's disappeared into a Narnia like world in the neighbour's garden ..... ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Still here. I’ll see if I can get and upload a photo. Think it will make things clearer.

    On the subject of water shoots. My magnolia has them but obviously I crop them back a few times a year to maintain the clipped, bushy appearance.
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