Magnolia Tree Maintenance

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by 2hot4me, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. 2hot4me

    2hot4me Member

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    Meridian, MS USA
    When we bought our home 19 YEARS AGO there was a small magnolia tree on the property. It was about 5 feet tall. After a couple of years and it grew a little, I pruned off the very lowest branches so we could get under it better when we cut grass. Now the tree is about 15 feet tall (or a little less), the canopy is about 13 feet wide at the bottom, and the trunk diameter is about 6 inches. However, because I have not cut the tree anymore since the first time, the lowest branches are still only 3 feet off the ground! These branches have become much less pliable as they've grown and it's getting nearly impossible to cut grass under the tree.

    We have 4 acres of land and this tree is out of reach of our very longest hoses, but we do make an effort to get water to it when we're experiencing drought conditions. The tree is very dense, and it blooms profusely at least twice a year. Would cutting off the lowest branches once again hurt the tree? When would be the best time to do it? I've always thought it odd that it hasn't grown more in that length of time, but since it's not been watered or fertilized religiously I guess it's doing pretty well considering the heat and clay here.

    Also, I've always heard that trees should have inside branches pruned enough that birds could fly through them. These branches are very dense to the point that light doesn't even shine through! Should I thin out the inside some?
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Britain zone 8/9
    Best would be to remove the grass from under it, so you don't have to mow there any more. Maybe put in a few early spring bulbs that will flower before the Magnolia comes out.
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    WA USA (Z8)
    Tree would do better with mulch beneath and watering. Clear an area around it of grass wide enough that you don't run into the branches when mowing and cover this spot with wood chips or similar material. Keep it off the trunk(s).

    To keep the mulch out of the grass, edge the mulched area with a mowing strip consisting of concrete, plastic or other suitable material.

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