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Pruning / Cutting a magnolia tree

Hi All,

Newbie and complete novice looking for advice!

I've recently purchased a house with a beautiful mature magnolia in the garden. It flowered in April and now the flowers have gone.

It appears that the tree hasn't had much tlc over the years which has resulted in in it becoming untidy with the result being that it is actually blocking light out for the lawn and other trees and shrubs.

I'm thinking of cutting some branches to tidy it up a bit - only some as I don't want to stress the tree by going crazy.

Any advice on when / how best to do this??

All advice welcome!

Last edited: 26 May 2017 07:03:15


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,581

    Magnolias don't take well to pruning.   Have a look at this info form the RHS - Scroll down to pruning and training tips.

    Wait till mid summer or early autumn and start by removing any dead or broken branches.   Then identify which lower branches can be removed back to a fork to raise the crown and allow more light and rain underneath.   Make sure you cut them back in several pieces so the weight of a falling branch doesn't cause tearing to the bark leaving open wounds that can get infected.

    I would leave it there for this year and then next year, again in mid summer to autumn, take out some of the higher branches in the same way, aiming for an open, airy and even distribution of branches.   You might need a qualified tree surgeon with special equipment and insurance.   

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • nails1984nails1984 Posts: 2

    hi Oblixx

    thanks so much for your reply!

    I'm going to take your advice and take stock in early autumn! 

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,581

    Good luck.   I've inherited a small and sickly magnolia in this garden so may also be doing some pruning and tidying.  It was completely dead looking when we arrived here on Oct 1st but has been watered and watered and fed and watered and given a whole bag of ericaceous compost as a mulch and watered again and has responded with masses of flowers and then healthy looking foliage.  I'm very pleased with it.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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