Pruning a Magnolia

HI All

I volunteer for AGE UK by doing general gardening for the less able.  One old chap wants his magnolia tree pruned because he originally planted it too near other plants/constructions.  I have two books one of which says that pruning is not necessary and the other which says that deciduous types resent pruning as the wounds do not heal readily.  As you guessed his is a deciduous type but he does not know the variety name.  It has been in the ground about 10/15 years and is about 10 feet tall with a spread of 6 feet.  Obviously I do not want to do irreparable harm so does anyone have any advice.  Thanks



  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    bobloes I posted a thread about this a short while ago. It confirmed that I was correct in my assumptions.

    Magnolias seldom need pruning and if you do the best time is after it has flowered in spring / summer.  

    I will re-hash my thread for you to read. Hope this helps.

  • bobloesbobloes Posts: 68

    Hi KEF,

    The RHS advice seems to be clear - take your time and be gentle.  Not something I am used to but I shall learn.




  • Rosie31Rosie31 Posts: 483

    Hi bobloes  - when we moved into our garden there was a magnolia (deciduous) in a terrible state because it was squashed by two big conifers (which we removed).  It was all lopsided and miserable and really, really needed pruning. 

    We didn't do it all at once - each year for about three years we removed just one or two of the worst problem branches.  We were just aiming for a more balanced shape, and also getting rid of crossing branches in the middle etc.  It worked really well;  although you need to anticipate that, whichever side you prune, that side will grow again most strongly the next year - so you need to bear that in mind if the purpose is to contain the plant and keep it away from other plants.

    Anyway, our magnolia thrived on the treatment.  So I'd say:  prune just after flowering;  take no more than one or two branches each year;  think ahead to how it is going to regrow and aim for the overall shape that you want.

    Good luck!


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