Magnolias are usually crowded and grow to magnificent heights. You may be tempted to prune a magnolia tree, but generally, heavy pruning had negative effects on magnolias.
Even when you remove too many branches from the tree, the magnolia can develop suckers and become irresistible to diseases.
Do not try to remove too many branches as this can help to protect your tree from diseases. If you want to remove ugly or dead branches, do it after the first season of flowering, that is, in the spring or summer.
Let’s see ways we can prune our magnolias.
1. Prioritize Dead and Diseased Branches over Healthy Ones
While removing branches, always start with the dead or dying ones. Why? This is because it is harmful to prune more than one-third of the magnolia tree at once. So instead of removing healthy branches, begin with the ones that are dead.
- · Be careful of what you trim. Do not trim more than necessary because magnolias do not like heavy pruning. Heavy pruning can cause harm to the tree, reduce the rate of yield, and make the tree irresistible to diseases
2. Wait for the Magnolia Tree to Bloom for the First Time
The period in which your magnolia tree blooms depends on your climate or weather. This can bloom either in the springtime or summer.
Whatever the season, it is until the first time it blooms that you can prune your magnolia tree.
- You should avoid pruning your tree in the winter or early spring. If you do not, your tree will not be resistant to diseases and it may not produce fruits the next year
- If you notice a branch that is diseased not at the specified season for bloom, try to treat the disease before pruning it. This is because if you try to remove the branch without treating it, in the process, you can damage the tree or even cause another disease.
3. Disinfect Your Shears Before and After Pruning Your Tree
Before and after pruning your tree, use alcohol to wipe down the shears. Then wait for a few seconds for it to dry off.
Provided you have many trees to prune, before and after pruning each tree, disinfect your pruning shear.
4. Cut off Deadwood near the Trunk
Deadwood is breakable and it does not produce flowers or fruits like the rest of the tree. It has a color different from the rest of the tree. Away from the tree’s trunk, cut about 1 inch to remove the deadwood.
- It is very important to remove deadwood from the tree, no matter big or small it is
5. Notice if Your Branches Show Signs of Diseases
Here are some signs you will notice while determining whether your tree is diseased: the leaves and bark are discolored; the wood is decaying; drooping branches, and a lot more.
You can cut 1 inch to the trunk when you notice they are diseased.
- If the main trunk of the tree is diseased, it might be too late to get it treated. You may even have to remove the tree as a whole. Also, you need to hire an arborist to check and treat your trees
- When you remove the diseased branches, do not forget to apply fungicide or Neem oil.
Note: Several diseases that can affect magnolias are fungal leaf, cankers, algal leaf, verticillium wilt, and so on.
6. Remove Branches over 2 Inches in Diameter with a Handsaw
Under the branch, cut 18 inches away from the trunk. Remember to cut about one-third through the branch.
On top of the tree, cut about 1 inch. These cuts will help to protect the bark from damage in case the branch falls.
After making these cuts, get rid of the branch just above the collar of the branch. Retain about 1 inch of the branch’s collar to protect the tree.
- You can remove these large branches if only they are dead or diseased. Removing large and healthy branches can cause great damage to the tree
7. To Control Growth, Choose New and Lower Branches
To prevent overgrowth of the tree, remove the younger branches once in a while. The younger branches should around 1-2 inches in diameter.
- Find the odd branches or the branches that are intertwined together. These are the ones you can remove
- Large branches or high branches must not be removed unless it is dead or diseased. If they are removed, it holds back leaves and flowers from sprouting
- Do not reshape or trim your magnolia for 2 to 3 years. This is because magnolias are sensitive to pruning. Although it requires patience, the results are worth it
- After the first bloom, when you have pruned dead or diseased branches, you can now prune healthy branches.
8. Trim New Shoots with Pruning Shears
Find out the thin, young shoots that are overgrowing. These branches are usually lower than 1 inch in diameter. So in the place where these shoots meet the main branches, trim it off with a pruning shear.
- When you trim it, it will open up a more attractive tree.
9. Cut off the Branches near the Trunk with Lopping Shears
Prune the branch just above its collar. Retain about 1 inch on the branch to protect the tree from diseases.
- Avoid cutting the branches at their end. If you do not, this will cause the tree to water sprout. When water sprouts, it produces small stems and branches that are uncontrollable, leading to an unattractive tree
10. Rub Water Sprout off the Tree
When a branch is cut at its end, a water sprout shoots out. These are thin and long branches that grow in clusters and they make the tree unattractive.
To remove these sprouts, you rub them off till they break off.
11. Wear Protective Gloves and Goggles when Pruning
When you prune, put on protective goggles and gloves. The gloves help to protect your hand from injuries while pruning and the goggles protect your eyes from wood chips.
You can purchase these items at a garden or hardware store.
- You should also wear your helmet when you want to climb a ladder
12. Prune the Tree when Dry to Prevent Diseases
When you prune a branch that is wet, diseases can quickly infect it.
So choose a sunny day, when your tree is dry, to prune.
13. When You Use a Ladder, Ask Someone to Spot You
As discussed earlier, Magnolia grows magnificently. So you may need to use a ladder to get to high branches.
For you to use the ladder, ask someone to watch you, in case you fall or get injured. However, the person should not stay where the branch can fall.
- Use safe ladder practices to ensure you are safe. Do not overweigh the ladder and make sure it is firm and properly grounded before climbing
14. Hire an Arborist if the Trees Have Many Dead or Diseased Branches
Make use of an arborist to prune heavy or high branches. An arborist can safely take care of these issues.
If diseased branches are more than one, an arborist can help you treat the tree without pruning many branches.
Here are the things you will need for pruning:
- Alcohol for rubbing
- Pruning shears
- Looping shears
When you properly apply these tips for pruning, you will make your Magnolia tree more beautiful than ever before.
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