Help with pruning a magnolia grandiflora

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by elizabetheden, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. elizabetheden

    elizabetheden Member

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    Location:
    Kaipara, New Zealand
    I want to turn my evergreen magnolia into a shrub with some judicial pruning. At the moment it's about 2 metres high and that is as high as I want it to stay. There are some flowers on it and new wood on many of the branches. I have a couple of questions - Do I prune it now as we head into winter? and when I do prune it do I cut that new wood?
     
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    If it is looks like you are trying to Bonzai the poor thing. These grow big some varieties to 27 meters. Do you know which type you have? We have one called "Little Gem" (in Aust.) and even that can get very large. They say suitable for large gardens.

    This might help but it seems to be for decidious ones

    "Pruning is not necessary, although you can prune to reduce the size of your magnolia. Pruning removes flowering wood, reducing flowering the following season. "

    http://www.bestgardening.com/bgc/plant/magnolia01.htm

    Liz
     
  3. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    You can prune an evergreen Magnolia to maintain the
    shape and keep the tree within desired size constraints
    if that is what you really want. You will lose some of
    the flowering ability of the tree for a while until the tree
    develops some new wood to it. A lot depends on how
    much wood you want to take off the tree as if the tree is
    the desired height now and you want it to become more
    compact in shape, then prune the head back to the shape
    you want it to be now. Allow time for the tree to come
    back with new growth to emerge from below where the
    pruning cuts were made and pinch the new growth back
    if the new shoots become too vigorous. Pruning is best
    done during the growing season. Can be pruned in the
    Fall if need be with Winter pruning the least best option.

    Jim
     
  4. elizabetheden

    elizabetheden Member

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    Thanks Jim and Liz. It is still autumn here so will give a go at pruning around the top. It is a grandiflora and I know that it can grow into an enormous tree - I have about 20 others on my property that I'm letting go 'au naturel'.
    But, did you mean that I just cut where there is new wood Jim? That's what I was worried about.
     
  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    New wood is flowering wood. You might have to go with out flowers for 12 months
    Liz
     
  6. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    But, did you mean that I just cut where there is new
    wood Jim? That's what I was worried about.


    I don't know how you can work around not cutting
    or at least pinching back some of the new growth to
    keep this tree at or near the desired height you want
    it to be. Ideally you would pinch back the new growth
    on the top back to about 3-5 leaves all the way around.
    Don't prune off all of the new top growth back to old
    wood if you can help it. Let the new growth emerge
    from your cuts and then pinch back any new overly
    vigorous growth. No matter how you want to work
    it you will lose the potential for the wood on top of
    the tree to produce flower buds for you. Your hope
    once you limit top growth is that the tree will become
    fuller due to new growth which will enable more flower
    bud formation down lower on the tree but the top as
    long as you pinch the new growth back could very
    well be devoid of flowers for some time.

    Jim
     

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