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Can my Magnolia be saved?

Hi all!
I've inherited this Magnolia and I'm wondering if I can save it?
It's got lots of watershoots and a couple of crossing branches, and some branches that have grown together.
I've done some research that shows that a heavy prune can really harm the tree and ideally pruning should be done over 2 to 3 years to not stress the tree. 
Any advice on what to do about it would be hugely appreciated!
Here's some pictures of the Magnolia, hopefully you can see what I mean.
Thank you in advance!
Steff 😊


  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 4,964
    I would check on the RHS website first but with most early flowering specimens, you prune immediately after flowering. Take about a third off at a time , do it over 2-3 years as you say. Remember a third can mean 1 in 3, removed complex or reduce each long shoot by a third. 
    AB Still learning

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,851
    edited 19 April
    Third photo. There is a large branch that starts on the right bottom corner, between two uprights and then crosses back again. I would start with removing that.  Initial cut about six inch up from  the bottom rh corner, above what looks like an outward facing shoot.  Then stand back and have a good look at the shape.  The bottom also needs a tidying up, the bit off to the left, shorten the stump. There is also a a small branch between the two upright about a foot from the bottom. Take that back to a neat line near the trunk.   Use a very sharp pruning saw. I now use a  Silky Zubat pruning saw, goes through wood like butter.  You have a load of water shoots because someone butchered it.  Reduce those by about half.  Then leave it until next year and see how it looks. You want to develop a nice open shape with no crossing branches that rub on each other.

    It's obviously very stressed, give it a good feed and water it well this year.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • Thank you Allotment Boy and fidget ones!
    That's most helpful!!

    I think I'll take the big piece out in the middle as you mentioned on picture 3 fidget bones and then see where to go from there, I'll invest in a nice new pruning saw too 😊

    I'll keep you posted, hopefully a prune and a good feed and water this year will make it feel better! Thanks again!! 
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