Magnolia Pruning

kitasmommie(7)June 27, 2011

We planted what I thought was a Little Gem about 8 years ago. In this time period, our Little Gem has grown about 25' in height & is about 18' in diameter - at the base.

I would like to trim up the bottom so we can sit under it, however, some of the lower branches are quite thick. There is a dominant trunk, but I'm concerned that if we cut off these large branches, I could harm the tree.

Any suggestions? I'm assuming I should wait till late fall - if I decide to do this timming......

I just don't want this 25' tree to end up in my living room.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

proper pruning cuts will never kill a tree ...

since you are removing whole branches.. no need to worry about bud set timing issues ...

sounds like it is poorly sited if it is swallowing the house.. are you sure that getting rid of it might not be a better options..

if not.. prune away ... sooner the better in my world.. sounds like a nice place to sit in august ...

do you have any clue how to prune properly???


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 5:38PM
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You're right that the tree could be in a better part of the yard - but I sure would hate to take it our completely.
I moved to TN from NYC & one of my all time wishes was to have a magnolia. so, my first year here, my husband bought this tree......

no - I have no clue how to prune properly.

that would have been my next internet search......but I sure am open to instruction.....

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 5:53PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hopefully brandon will chime in with a link to a good pruning site...

and then. if you want more from us.. you will need to post a picture ...

absolute total newbie mistake #1 ... i will plant this cute babe close to the house were i can see it ... lol.. who knew they grow like the trees they are ... lol ... been there.. done that ...

first things first.. if you have some space... plant another 25 feet out from the house .... in fall at proper planting time ... so that the big one .. becomes.. basically.. disposable ... should that ever become the case ...

gotta think NC is a world better than NY .... would you ever go back ...???

i moved from suburban detroit.. 60 miles SW ... to rural america ... to raise my kids ... if it werent for my parents.. i would never go back ...


Here is a link that might be useful: how to post pix

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 6:53PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


I don't really know of a website with what I would consider perfect pruning instructions. A lot of sites have bits and pieces, but most are either somewhat incomplete, unclear, or even full of errors. I'll provide a link to the ISA's website, which has brief (but probably not really meant as a tutorial in the first place) pruning instructions. We need to write a set of instructions like we did for planting, but I have so far not had time to even begin that task. Maybe one day...


How close is the tree to your house? I have a little gem that was planted next to my house before I owned the house. It's been there for about twenty years.

I like mine with foliage almost all the way to the ground (I can actually run a pushmower under mine), but I guess it's personal preference. I see tons of various Southern Magnolias pruned up around here, but I can't really recall ever seeing a 'Little Gem' limbed up.

Here is a link that might be useful: ISA's TreesAreGood - Pruning Mature Trees

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 10:36PM
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I live just outside of Nashville, TN & no I would never move back to NYC. I have to travel back a couple times every year for business & as soon as I get off the plane - I'm ready to turn around & come back home.
I'll take some pics tomorrow & post - having wonderful t'storms today.

The tree is about 10-12 feet away from the house. I can't move this tree - is way too big......

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 1:19PM
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We just limbed up two Little Gem Magnolias - I saw a home nearby that had four of them done that way and they looked great - we have limited space in our townhome garden, so decided this was the way to go.....I think that although this isn't the way most prefer their magnolia trees, it works well in some cases!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 12:03PM
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