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 is a horticultural practice that alters the form and growth of a plant. It is one of the oldest cultural practices known to man, with written evidence dating back to ancient Rome. Pruning has many purposes, including maintaining plant health, increasing yields, creating an appealing shape, and even harvested for saleable product (e.g. bonsai). There are two main types of pruning: formative (or structural) pruning, which is done to shape the plant, and fruit tree pruning, which is done to promote fruit production.

What You’ll Need

Pruning shears
Magnolia tree

##Heading:Step 1 – Prepare to Prune
Before pruning your magnolia tree, it is important to understand what you are doing and why. Pruning is the process of trimming dead or excess branches from a tree. Trees need to be pruned for a variety of reasons, including disease prevention, improved aesthetics, and improved fruit production.

Pruning your magnolia tree will also stimulate new growth, which can be beneficial if the tree is looking sparse or has suffered storm damage. It is important to prune at the right time of year, however, as this can impact the health of the tree. For most trees, including magnolias, the best time to prune is in late winter or early spring.

##Heading:Step 2 – Select the Branches to Remove
When pruning your magnolia tree, you should always start with dead or diseased branches. These branches should be cut back to the main trunk or to a healthy side branch. You can also remove any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other, as these can cause damage over time. In addition, you may want to remove any suckers (new growth) that are sprouting from the base of the trunk. These suckers competing for resources with the rest of the tree and will not produce flowers.

Once you have removed all of the diseased and damaged branches, you can start trimming back healthy branches to shape the tree. When shaping the tree, always make cuts just above a side branch or bud (an area where new growth will occur). never remove more than 1/3 of the live branches in any one pruning session, as this can shock the tree and cause dieback.

Pruning in the Fall

Although you can prune a magnolia tree at any time of year, it’s best to wait until fall. This gives the tree a chance to heal before winter and also allows you to see where the branches need to be cut.

To prune a magnolia tree, start by cutting away any dead or diseased branches. Then, cut back any branches that are rubbing against each other or growing in an undesired direction. Finally, trim back any branches that are longer than necessary. When you’re finished, your magnolia tree should have a clean, neat appearance.

Pruning in the Winter

Although you can prune a magnolia tree at any time of year, winter is the best time to prune. This is because the magnolia tree is dormant in winter, which means that it isn’t actively growing. This makes it easier to see the tree’s structure and plan your pruning accordingly.

When pruning in winter, start by removing any dead or diseased branches. Then, thin out the branches to improve air circulation and light penetration. Finally, cut back any overlong branches.

Pruning in the Spring

Pruning in the spring is best done before the tree breaks its dormancy for the season. In most cases, this is before March 15. You can tell that a magnolia tree is breaking dormancy when the buds start to swell and turn pink or red. Pruning before this happens will minimize the risk of damage to the tree.


There are a few things to keep in mind when pruning a magnolia tree. First,Magnolia trees have a tendency to bleed sap from pruning cuts, so it’s best to prune them in late winter or early spring before they start to produce new growth. Second, you should always use sharp, clean pruning shears to make clean cuts. And finally, don’t be afraid to prune away any dead or diseased branches.

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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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