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Magnolia end die-back - prune or not

borgadrborgadr KentPosts: 281
I have a young Magnolia x soulangeana, I don't know how old (I was given it as a gift little over a year ago, the main stem is about 1cm in diameter). It's been in a large pot last year and I planted it out this autumn.

I noticed after the leaves dropped that almost all the stems have die-back at the tips, like the photo attached. I don't know the cause - maybe it was the late frosts last April and I didn't notice until it lost its leaves.  It seemed healthy enough through the growing season.

Should I snip the dead tips off, or just leave it? And if so should I do it now or wait until late spring after the last frosts?


  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,700
    I don't know anything about your particular magnolia bordagr but I have M. Grandiflora. Not sure how old it is but would guess at 6 or 7 years old. Sometimes it has die back the same as yours (see pics) so I cut back the dying wood and it always grows back. This isn't a full answer to your question but just to say that hopefully, yours will grow back at a leaf bud if you prune it back. 

  • borgadrborgadr KentPosts: 281
    Thanks @Uff . Do you do this in winter while there is still risk of frost or do you wait until May?
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,700
    Those pics I took today so I'll cut them off at any time soon. It's dead wood so won't hurt anything. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,121
    I'd agree - just don't cut back beyond the dead areas  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,700
    I've just noticed in the photo borgadr, is the stem of the tree rubbing against the cane?
  • borgadrborgadr KentPosts: 281
    Yes, it is, good spot.  It might be time to remove the canes anyway; I planted the tree in a well protected corner of the garden quite sheltered from winds.
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