Pruning: Pruning A 50 Year Old Saucer Magnolia Tree?

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by Veronica Ross, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Veronica Ross

    Veronica Ross Member

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    Hello,
    I have a 25 ft. tall, aprox. 50 year old Saucer Magnolia in my front (north facing) yard. When is the best time of year to prune such a tree and will it be ok to take 6-8 feet off the top and 3-5 feet off of one side (the side touching the house)?
    Regards,
    Veronica
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Prune in midsummer. Do not prune now. As with other kinds of trees topping and other hard pruning will be liable to result in production of ugly straight replacement shoots bursting out of the points where the more attractive mature growth was removed. This has been called the Hydra Effect, stumps with water sprouts coming out of the ends looking like hydras. Since much of the appeal of a fully developed saucer magnolia is the curving branch structure whacking away part of it significantly reduces its value as a landscape feature.

    If it simply does not fit in the space anymore it is possible to attempt renovation pruning through cutting it down low, in stages, and starting it over from near the base. But how sad to be cutting and carting away the results of 50 years of development.

    If you can get in a competent, experienced and sympathetic arborist or gardener to look at it they may see a way to a compromise. This is liable to involve some follow-up work, as the tree reacts to part of its top having been removed.
     
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I agree with Ron, most times Magnolias react to pruning with tons of regrowth, its a management project over a few years usually to try to reduce an aged specimen.
     
  4. Veronica Ross

    Veronica Ross Member

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    Thank you this is very helpful
     

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