Pruning Star Magnolia

ljezuit(ChicagoIL)September 7, 2008

I have a star magnolia that I would like to prune some of the lower branches off. The reason is because this tree has grown so dense and started to branch downward not letting light to some Japanese barberries and they are losing their yellow color. I would like to trim just a few lower branches that are growing down in direction. I think it would also make the tree look more like a tree as opposed to a shrub.

Question will I harm the tree doing this now? I realize that I will lose the blooms setting on these branches but this tree has grown 10 fold since planting and is really dense and I feel I can afford to lose a few branches worth. My concern is more for the tree health and if so I will wait till next spring.

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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

In town I saw this species get pruned as you would a boxwood, very harshly. Magnolias hate pruning. But the shrubs (they were shrubs) have sent out lots of new growth. Still not good for them, but if they can survive a drastic pruning like that then I would not worry too much if you just are removing a small amount low branches low branches tend to produce the least food for the plant anyways.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 10:46PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I have pruned some 'so a bird could fly through them'. No harm done and the effect is very nice when they bloom in early Spring. Prune the hardest at the bottom and as you go up let it get denser so it has a canopy of sorts.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 7:16AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

With deciduous magnolias main thing to avoid is removing branches large enough that cavities might result. In this case "large" might be around one inch thick or more, I suppose.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 10:54PM
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tishfromwis(z5 WI)

We planted one in May of 2006. It was probably 5 1/2 feet tall at the time. That fall, our lab (he was just shy of his first birthday) pruned all of the lower branches. I was so upset and was sure it was a goner. I clean-cut all of the twisted and mutilated stubs with some loppers. Here it is two years later and the bottom branches are just about caught up with the upper branches. I don't recommend this type of pruning, but apparently the Star magnolia is pretty resilient...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 4:50PM
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