Pruning Magnolia/Michelia Figo

Discussion in 'Magnoliaceae' started by Junglekeeper, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I have a Magnolia figo which I trained as a standard. It is 3.5' tall with a 2.5' spread with ten S-shaped laterals above a 2' clear stem. It was grown from a cutting and topped at its current height. I'm considering pruning it to control its size as it is an indoor container plant. However I'm somewhat ambivalent to do so as the form of the tree is rather pleasing and I've read in these forums that magnolias generally do not need or like to be pruned. Doing nothing seems reasonable at this time since I suspect some of the buds on the laterals will turn out to be side branches come spring time. Your thoughts?
     
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I am not sure whay type of magnolia you have but my very large one (tree size) seems to get a branch snapped off every other week. It is hanging over a walkway. This one looses its leaves in winter and we do give it a light prune and it just sprouts. A smaller one with claret flowers was severly pruned to stumps and this last spring was glorious well shaped and flowering. Also decidious

    http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/20...ng_plants_and_shrubs/port_wine_magnolia_hedge

    Liz
     
  3. bertoli55

    bertoli55 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Junglekeeper,
    Michelia figo, aka Port wine magnolia, responds well to pruning. Wait until after it has finished flowering and prune to maintain the shape that you want. Pruning results in a more bushy plant. Mine grows vigourously and it is pruned every year - it is one of my favourites.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    He called it Magnolia figo because genetic studies indicate Michelia, Manglietia etc. are magnolias.
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks for your thoughts. Perhaps this species is more receptive to pruning than others. Another reason not to prune at this time is the removal of flower buds, as bertoli55 pointed out. I'll defer my decision until after flowering.
     
  6. Monte Smith

    Monte Smith Member

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    I have a Susan Magnolia blooms beautifull good healthy foliage but needs a little shaping because it is out growing its garden space. Do you think I could prune it after blooming as you have suggested for the Michelia Figo. Thank you, Monte
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You can even shear this in the manner of a hedge and not have it die but you won't be able to maintain an attractive specimen with a full amount of flowering with annual clipping over. The natural undamaged branching habit as seen in winter is much of the appeal of deciduous magnolias. The flower buds are formed the previous summer on the most vigorous shoots. Replacement shoots coming from behind tips that have been cut back may not set buds the first year. If these in turn get cut back the following year...
     
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The tree has finished flowering and is ready for pruning. It has been suggested that the laterals be shortened by one third to encourage branching. Here lies the dilemma. The topmost laterals have naturally produced secondary branching in that portion of growth. Does it make sense to remove this growth? If so, is the removal of 1/3 of each lateral enough or should more be taken off? The laterals are about 18" long. Keep in mind this is an indoor houseplant and should be more compact in size.
     
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I was trying to decide where on each branch to prune when I realized something. Each leaf node where a flower had been has a short stubby stem that held the flower. These will eventually be shed but are there dormant buds present to allow for new vegetative growth at these points? bertoli55's earlier response suggests there are. Could someone confirm?
     

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