Preventing Magnolia Leaders

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by GraemeBrown, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. GraemeBrown

    GraemeBrown New Member

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    Hello,

    I have a magnolia tree in our backyard that produces new "shoots" each summer that are several feet tall, and cutting them back is challenging/costly due to the height of the tree, so I would like to somehow prevent this growth if possible.

    The shoots grow from near the top of main stems that appear to have been topped at some point. Each stem grows several shoots so there are dozens in total. Can anyone recommend a treatment that would prevent their growth each year?

    I've attached some photos of the tree. The first is in spring bloom, the next three are for identification purposes, and last photo is of the shoots themselves.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can offer!

    Regards,
    Graeme
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Might be a Yulan magnolia, closer view of flowers needed to proceed further. Anyway the most noticeable thing is that the original topping really spoiled the shape of the tree, the solution to the resulting annual production of replacement tops is to stop cutting them off. Otherwise as long as it remains vigorous enough the tree is forever going to try to replace the original top, continue on from there. If you don't want a significantly taller tree in that spot you can either keep mowing the top of it, with the existing unattractive outcome being maintained. Or cut the tree down, replace it with something naturally smaller growing (you will probably have to have the resulting stump ground in order to stop that from sprouting also).
     
  3. GraemeBrown

    GraemeBrown New Member

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    Thank you Ron. I guess we're stuck with annual mowing then - the new growth each year obliterates a nice mountain view, and it's just not worth the effort and expense to remove and replant. Shame that the original topping wasn't done earlier. It's helpful to know there aren't alternatives; thank you.
    Attached is a (grainy) photo of the flowers, in case you are curious.
    Graeme
     

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  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Rather than maintaining it as an ugly "hat rack" you could cut it all down to about 18 in. right after it blooms next spring. start it over again. This will at least give you a period of time where it is not in the view, has a natural branching pattern. Of course, as with a removal operation there would be the cutting down, cutting up and disposal of most of the existing top. But there would be no grinding of a stump involved.
     

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