How to Prune a Magnolia Tree

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

A guide on how to prune a magnolia tree.

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Pruning Basics

Pruning is a horticultural practice that involves the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Pruning often takes place in order to improve the health or appearance of the plant. It can also be done to encourage the growth of certain parts of the plant.

Why prune?

Pruning is necessary to maintain the tree’s health and vigor, and to produce strong, healthy branches. Pruning also helps to shape the tree, control its growth, and keep it from getting too large for its space.

Pruning also allows you to remove any damaged or diseased branches, which can help prevent the spread of disease to other parts of the tree. And, if you have a fruit-bearing tree, pruning can also help increase fruit production.

When to prune

The best time to prune your magnolia tree is in the late winter or early spring, before the new growth begins. You can prune magnolia trees anytime from late winter to early summer, but pruning earlier in the season (late winter to spring) will minimize the potential for pest and disease problems.

What tools to use

Pruning magnolia trees is best done in late winter or early spring, before the trees begin putting out new growth. You’ll need a good pair of pruning shears, a small saw for larger branches, and a stepladder if you can’t reach the branches you need to prune from the ground.

Pruning a Magnolia Tree

Pruning a magnolia tree is important to the health and growth of the tree. There are a few things to keep in mind when pruning a magnolia tree. The first is to prune in the late winter or early spring. This is the time when the tree is dormant and will not be damaged by pruning. The second is to prune branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. This can damage the bark and cause the tree to be unhealthy.

Start with the dead and diseased wood

Pruning a magnolia tree is an important part of maintaining its health and vigor. Random or over-pruning can damage the tree, so it’s important to know how and when to prune.

The best time to prune a magnolia tree is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This will give the tree time to heal before the stress of summer.

Start by removing any dead, diseased or damaged wood. These areas can be identified by their lack of leaves, bark or signs of new growth. Cut these branches back to the main trunk or to a healthy lateral branch.

Next, remove any branches that are rubbing against each other or crossing. These areas can be damaged by chafing and may provide an entry point for insect pests or diseases. Cut these branches back to their point of origin on the trunk or main branch.

Remove any crossing, rubbing, or weak branches

Start by removing any crossing, rubbing, or weak branches. These are usually easy to spot and are often located where two branches meet or where a branch meets the trunk. These areas are potential weak spots that can lead to damage if left unpruned.

Next, look for branches that are growing out of the main trunk at odd angles. These are called suckers and should be removed close to the trunk to prevent them from taking over the tree.

Finally, cut back any branches that are longer than half the length of the main trunk. These branches are called whips and can be weak and prone to breakage.

Cut back any branches that are too long

Start by cut back any branches that are too long. You can do this by hand, using pruning shears. Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, about four inches above where the branch meets the trunk of the tree.

Next, you’ll need to remove any dead or diseased branches. These can be identified by their dry, brittle appearance. Cut these branches back to the point where they meet a healthy branch, or all the way back to the trunk of the tree if necessary.

Once you’ve removed any dead or diseased branches, you can start thinning out the magnolia tree. This will help increase air circulation and allow more sunlight to reach the interior of the tree. Start by removing any crossed branches, as well as any branches that are growing towards the center of the tree. Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, about four inches above where the branch meets another branch or the trunk of the tree.

Finally, you can cut back any remaining long branches to create a more compact shape. Once again, make your cuts at a 45-degree angle, about four inches above where the branch meets another branch or the trunk of the tree.

After Pruning

Your magnolia will require annual pruning to maintain its shape and size. The best time to prune your magnolia tree is late winter or early spring, before the new growth begins.

Apply a tree wound dressing

After you have made your cuts, it is important to apply a wound dressing to the tree. A tree wound dressing helps to prevent pest and disease problems and also helps the tree heal faster. You can buy a tree wound dressing at your local garden center or nursery. Apply the dressing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Monitor the tree for any new problems

After you have pruned your magnolia tree, it is important to monitor it for any new problems that may arise. Check the tree regularly for any dead branches or leaves, and remove them as soon as possible. Also, keep an eye out for any pests or diseases that may be attracted to the newly pruned tree. If you see any signs of these, treat the problem immediately. With proper care and monitoring, your magnolia tree should recover from pruning and remain healthy for many years to come.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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