Magnolia pruning

Magnolia pruning

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Question: Magnolia pruning

I would like to know when and how to prune a magnolia that needs to be shaped and stimulated to grow

Answer: Magnolia pruning

Dear Michele, thank you for contacting us and for writing in the section of our website dedicated to our users. Magnolia grandiflora needs pruning aimed at limiting growth and giving shape to the plant. Pruning should be carried out after winter, to prevent frost from entering the plant by penetrating from the cutting areas, and especially after the flowering of the plant. A pruning carried out before the flowering of the magnolia produces very negative effects on the plant which reacts to the early cutting by not carrying out flowering. When we intervene on the magnolia for a pruning we must try to give the plant a pyramidal shape, as harmonious and elegant as possible. Starting from the outermost part of the canopy, the distal portions of the branches must be progressively eliminated, preferring a delicate approach to a drastic and strong intervention. Therefore, it is better to give shape to the plant by proceeding delicately, pruning the branches a little at a time but over the entire surface of the canopy and passing over several times until the desired result is obtained.


Magnolias are among the most popular flowering trees: they are in fact an unforgettable sight, with their delicate petals that sprout directly from the branches, even before the leaves, to indicate the arrival of summer.

Everyone can have the satisfaction of cultivating one, as there are many different sizes and behaviors. They can therefore be inserted in large parks, in small gardens or even grown in large containers, on balconies or terraces.

Magnolias come from East Asia and the East Coast of the United States. In Europe they were known since ancient times, but their cultivation (in particular of the persistent leaf varieties) has spread since the eighteenth century.


Magnolia is very decorative, but to keep it beautiful and vigorous, it requires attention. Among these, a careful assessment of whether or not you need a pruning. Before deciding how to prune the magnolia, in short, it is worth asking whether it is appropriate to do it. In particular, it is advisable to take into account the species and age of the tree. Cuts can be made on young plants, on the contrary, on adult ones, it is not necessary to intervene with this procedure. In fact, in adult specimens, the wood is not able to heal, and therefore open wounds could become an easy route of transmission of microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) dangerous for the prosperity of the magnolia itself. The best solution is to start pruning, in a light way, the youngest and most robust evergreen plants, and then continue with regular interventions during the growth phase, up to adulthood.

Pruning Of A Magnolia Tree

Magnolia trees can greatly benefit from proper pruning done at correct intervals. As with any tree, the key to good pruning or even proper pruning is to not overdo it and damage the plant's growth potential. This is especially true with magnolias, as these trees can reach heights of 60-80 feet in their lifetime.

Magnolia trees can greatly benefit from proper pruning done at correct intervals. As with any tree, the key to good pruning or even proper pruning is to not overdo it and damage the plant's growth potential. This is especially true with magnolias, as these trees can reach heights of 60-80 feet in their lifetime.

Advantages of pruning

Pruning in its most basic definition is the removal of unsightly or unwanted parts of the tree. Unwanted parts are not uncommon with these trees. As magnolias get so large, one of the most frequent reasons for pruning a magnolia is to limit its growth so that it is more manageable or non-obstructive in its surroundings.

Removing unsightly parts can also serve additional purposes. Considering that the blemishes on a plant are often leaves, branches or flowers that are dead or infected, pruning improves not only the aesthetic quality of the tree, but also its health.

By removing weakened or dead limbs through proper pruning, more of the tree's energy can be focused towards growing the healthy branches and flowers that remain.

When to prune a magnolia tree

The general consensus among experts is that the best time to prune a magnolia tree is right after the flowers have finished blooming. However, this is basically where the consensus ends.

Depending on factors such as the variety, whether it is evergreen or deciduous, the age and maturity of the tree, and the form in which you could train your tree As you grow, your ideal pruning habits vary.

The first task in any pruning job, regardless of variety, should be to remove all broken, rotted, dead or diseased branches or anything that appears to have become a problem.


Magnolia trees of this variety grow rapidly and grow tall, with species such as the southern magnolia growing up to 80 feet under ideal conditions. As such, young evergreen magnolias can be pruned using conventional techniques without any harm.

Likewise, due to the durability of the evergreen, if you want to correctly dictate the shape in which it will grow, pruning must be done in advance and must be repeated as it grows. New growth will continue to come from the tips of the cut branches.

When pruning for shape, start with a cut at the point of origin or go back to a strong side shoot or branch regardless of shape, and only then prune to shape, to fill an open area or to keep the magnolia tree in check .


Some botanical garden sources claim that deciduous magnolia trees need to be left alone to get their natural shape and growth. As such, shaping magnolias takes longer with deciduous varieties than evergreen ones.

Unlike evergreens that sprout new growth exactly where they are cut from, the same technique applied to deciduous magnolia trees will result in growth appearing up to a foot above or below where the cut was made.

Deciduous trees require more attention and precision when pruning, as severe pruning can cause long-term damage.

When cutting back to the side branches, look for branches at a 45 degree angle to the branch to be cut. Be sure to make slanted cuts on branches that grow upward.

When to stop pruning

Regardless of the differences the two varieties have when growing, at a certain age, any mature magnolia tree should no longer be pruned, as large cuts will not heal and can cause disease problems.

Pruning tools

Proper pruning tools should be used to ensure consistent and clean cuts. The best way to choose the proper cutting tool is to determine the thickness of any piece of the plant you want to remove.

Use conventional pruning shears for cuts up to 3/4 inches in diameter. Shears or loppers should be used to cut branches 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter. Hand saws are best for magnolia tree branches over 2 inches in diameter.

As you can see, there are some gaps between ranges where these tools cut best. Examine the hardness and resistance you feel in your specific branches and use your best judgment when your diameter falls between the ideal zone for two tools.

Sterilize the tools pruning before using them by placing them in a bucket with hydrogen peroxide for 20 minutes.

Hedge pruning techniques: how to cut

The hedge trimmer must be held with both hands. You will need to have a stable base of support to guarantee you the right balance and distance to perform safe and simple work on your hedge. In addition to safety you will also achieve a uniform hedge.

As we said, the cut must take place from top to bottom. On the top you will need to have the trimmer in front of you and proceed with the cut with a very wide horizontal movement. Only then will the top look nice and clean. To make your job easier, you may need a hedge trimmer that has an adjustable handle.

But how do you make hedges straight and tidy? There is a little help: one end of a string is tied to a stick at the desired height. The twine will be stretched horizontally, until it reaches the other tip of the hedge. The twine must be taut. You will start pruning by following the line of the twine well.


Pruning: if the magnolia is flowerless, this common mistake could be the cause. One of the most frequent reasons for non-flowering is incorrect pruning of the branches. Magnolia is an evergreen flower that does not require invasive pruning by those who grow it, except to slow its growth.

Its maximum height is about 25 meters. Furthermore, according to some, pruning would be indicated only on very young plants and much less on older ones.

But undoubtedly the most frequent mistake is to start pruning the magnolia out of the blue, without ever having done it before. Sporadic pruning is often the cause of non-production of flowers, even after years of flowering.

Pruning Trees

All Green Gardening company present in the Asti area carries out pruning of plants and trees for Asti, Alba, Alessandria. The company has gained significant experience in the field of pruning for plants from fruit is tree pruning. The company carries out work for individuals who need to remove bulky plants from the garden or from the relevant green area or only reduce the branch load that are present on the plant to be pruned. The activity is also aimed at public administrations, for works related to green maintenance in parks and on the streets. The knowledge of the pathologies that can attack the different plant species is fundamental, giving suggestions and the option to improve or restore the decor and maintain the safety of the surrounding area. Sometimes it happens that to revive a tree it is enough to intervene with non-invasive pruning, choosing the best period so that there can be a better vegetative recovery. For diseased plants, for which a cure would not cause improvement, instead they must be permanently removed and All Green Gardening takes care of cutting them down and eventually replacing them by planting them with younger and healthier ones. The firm is available for specific services of prompt intervention for tree felling, for cleaning gardens and general gardening work. Apply competitive prices and guarantee maximum seriousness and reliability.

Operating in the provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo.

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