Identification: Identification and correct pruning time for mature magnolia tree

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Grand Alpaca, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. Grand Alpaca

    Grand Alpaca Member

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    Hello, we have a mature deciduous magnolia that we would like to prune. The tree was here when we moved in, and we have been unable to correctly identify it. I have attached some photos of the tree in bloom. Is anyone able to help identify this tree and offer suggestions on the right time to prune it? We are located in Kelowna.
    Thanks,
    Rob
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Looks like a saucer magnolia, these are very common. When you say you want to prune it, what kind of change are you asking about, specifically (he inquires, cringing)?
     
  3. Grand Alpaca

    Grand Alpaca Member

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    Thanks for the reply! There are several large branches that remove part of my scalp every time I mow the lawn, as well as some vertical suckers sticking up here and there. I want to do some major surgery on the large limbs, and cut off the suckers to allow more light into the tree. What do you think?
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Replace the grass beneath it with a mulched bed (without digging into the tree roots) and leave it alone, for the most part. This is a "finished" specimen that should be subjected to little major pruning at this point.

    Would look good with a sheet of blue-flowered bulbs beneath it, one of the kinds that flowers at the same time - maybe grape hyacinths.
     
  5. Grand Alpaca

    Grand Alpaca Member

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    Good thought, I could live with that. We are looking at ways to reduce the lawn area anyway. The landscaping is "old school" and we are thinking about xeriscaping some areas to suit our dry climate (although I expect the magnolia requires a fair bit of water). Would you prune out the smaller sucker growth, and if so, what is the best time?
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, east Asian in origin and not adapted to semiarid summers. Would not do any pruning except what is needed to keep it from rubbing on the house.
     
  7. ryansenechal

    ryansenechal Active Member

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    If the tree means enough to you that you'd ask a forum for advice, go one step further and have a professional by to take a look.

    I would recommend Thor at Bartlett in your area -- it won't cost you anything for his observations.
     
  8. Grand Alpaca

    Grand Alpaca Member

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    Thanks, good advice, I asked around at some of the local nursery shops but they weren't too much help; I will contact Thor. From the research I did online, it seems like there are several types of magnolia and pruning is different for each type. From the previous post, looks like I shouldn't consider anything too drastic? There are some scars on the trunk where smaller branches have been pruned in the past, but nothing major and it seems to be surviving just fine. I like the tree, just wanted to prune it for convenience, but don't want to do any serious harm.
     
  9. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Who can be more of a professional than Ron B? He has shown great expertise on this forum for many years.
     
  10. ryansenechal

    ryansenechal Active Member

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    Ron is indeed an excellent resource, though he would be the first to suggest to you that prescription without proper diagnosis is malpractice.
     

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