How do I deal with this Magnolia?

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by ilsf, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. ilsf

    ilsf Member

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    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    Hi!
    I live in Porto, Portugal and our climate is atlantic temperate, it hardly ever goes below zero or snow.
    I have a Magnolia to take care of, because I think it needs to be looked after.
    Nothing has been done to it in the last 30 years because the house next to it was closed. As you can see from the picture it is extremely dense and tilted. Some effort was done this last summer to cut dead wood, but I find it difficult to reach anywhere inside the maze.
    I have to cut it a bit on the right to allow cars through the gate, since the tree pushes the gate closed. I don't know if anything else should be done.
    I don't know its species, and can only guess its age, at least 30 years, the flower is pink.
    I know it is deciduous.
    I attach a picture of this Magnolia in February (no leefs) and August 2004.
    On the Magnolia's left is a water tank, it is normal for this tank to overflow and water to run down the steps and flood the tree's foot.
    At this time, it is budding, so I get confused as to when to be able to cut it.

    Can I have some advice please?
     

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  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Aside from pruning the tree to allow for
    the gate to open is there a reason you want
    to prune this tree other than to trim out the
    outer and internal dead growth and some
    of the crossing branches? A good time to
    prune out the dead wood is when the
    Magnolia has leaves on the tree as then
    we can better see what limbs are alive and
    which ones are not. Are you concerned that
    the listing of the tree may cause it to fall over
    at some point in time?

    I am seeing a healthy and nice looking tree
    overall in a very nice setting. I am not sure
    I should ask this but are you certain this tree
    has not been pruned within the last 30 years?
    The reason why I asked is that right offhand
    I cannot think of too many naturally occurring
    round and full headed pink flowering deciduous
    Magnolias. Now I'd like to know which Magnolia
    you have if this tree grew into this shape all on
    its own. Here we have to prune these trees every
    few years to get the overall shape that your tree
    has.

    Jim
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Has M. liliiflora characteristics, probably one of its many hybrids.
     
  4. ilsf

    ilsf Member

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    My first problem is when to do anything, since, problably due to to the climate, the tree is flowering at this time and this is not coincident with any information I've found on Magnolias, do you think I should cut the part to allow the cars through as soon as the flowers are gone, or should I wait till February?

    I've read so much about not doing anything to Magnolias and wounds bleeding, that I don't want to do harm.

    I also have a problem with finding what is dead wood to cut due to the tree's density, specially when there is leefs, maybe I can now see what is budding and what isn't and mark the dead wood with a string for later pruning, what do you think? Or if it's dead wood I can cut it at any time?

    The only cuts that where done to the tree were to clear access to the water tank, nothing else, I suppose that and the wall behind it explain the listing. I don't think the tree is in any risk of falling, so I don't need to do anything else, really.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    M. liliiflora and hybrids often have a curving trunk. Post a photo of flowers for more information about identity.
     
  6. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    The dead wood can be cut out of the tree anytime
    of the year. Those cuts will not cause any bleeding.
    Bleeding is not a big issue with deciduous Magnolias
    unless cuts are made right before Winter or right
    before flowering or during flowering in the Spring
    where you are. After the leaves have emerged,
    opened up and filled the tree the bleeding becomes
    a non issue in a temperate climate. If you normally
    have flowers in mid to late February just as we do
    here where I am also with most but not all of our
    deciduous Magnolias, then wait until early to
    mid April to prune your tree if your are worried
    about when to prune it.

    Do you want cars to be able to go under the tree
    unimpeded as that is not a problem, just take off
    the lowest limb that is parallel to your water tank
    and then trim from the bottom up to relieve stress
    off the trunk and give you more access to the other
    dead wood that is visible in the second photo. Other
    than removal of that large limb and some small cuts
    to allow the gate to open and close I see no other
    pruning cuts that should be made, other than to cut
    out all of the dead wood back to where the dead
    limb attaches to the branch. Try to cut flush to the
    live wood as possible. No jagged or angular cuts
    when cutting back to live wood on a Magnolia.

    If you do not have any photos of your Magnolia
    can you describe the flower other than to say it
    is pink. Does the flower start out pink and then
    fade to white before the tepals (petals for most
    trees but for Magnolias they are called tepals)
    fall? Are the tepals purple then shade to pink
    before the tepals fall? Wish you could tell me
    how many tepals there are such a 9 or 6 tepals
    or as many as 12 or more tepals to a flower
    but I have a feeling we are looking at 9 tepals
    per flower for your tree.

    Jim
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Called tepals on these extremely ancient trees because they predate differentiation into petals and sepals. Sepal-like tepals found on outside of some, such as M. liliiflora are called sepaloid tepals.
     
  8. ilsf

    ilsf Member

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    First of all thanks for all the advice. It's very useful.

    I believe you thought it was spring here at the moment, but it isn't, it's late autumn. I don't know why the Magnolia has buttons at the moment, it does, but flowers are only expected in February/March.

    I did manage to find a picture which I could enlarge to show some flowers from March 2004, I can't picture them exactly but as I recall there are few tepals :) , I can't precise how many. As soon as I have some good pictures of the flowers I'll post them.
     

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  9. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Liliflora Magnolias have a tendency to have some
    rebloom late in the year. We always have some
    late Summer, early Autumn, blooms on some of
    our Liliflora hybrids such as 'Susan', 'Randy' and
    'Royal Crown' and liliflora 'Nigra' as examples.
    The tepal count within these above will vary from
    6 - 12. Tepal count is rather important to know
    with the Liliflora forms and the Liliflora hybrids.
    With some of the hybrids we can have a varying
    number of tepals per flower but some of the above
    have the same basic tepal count per flower, year
    in and year out. Yours appears to be one that has
    a tepal count of 8-10, with most of the flowers
    having 9 tepals. Ron had this one pegged all the
    way it seems.

    Jim
     

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