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  1. #1
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Magnolia tree trimming

    Our next door neighbor has a big magnolia tree in his backyard. The leaves and seedpods falling in our yard are constant work but the shade it provides in the summer is great. He needed to trim it back as it was getting too close to our house which is a wildfire hazard. (we live in a townhouse so our homes are attached). Since he's retired he has been doing it himself, slowly over the past month. At this point there is little tree left. I'm bummed that we won't have much shade this summer but it's his tree so I suppose he can do with it as he pleases. And he was polite enough to let us know that he'd be doing this and has been cleaning up the mess made in our yard due to the part that crossed over the fence. Is this how one should trim a magnolia?

    Here are the before/after pics (helpfully turned sideways by the forum software so that everyone can stretch the muscles on the right side of their neck...)

    before.jpg
    after.jpg

  2. #2
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Having a little difficulty seeing this as the pictures appear to be from different viewpoints. Is tree remaining after the pruning just the blunt arms with all the smaller branches and leaf buds cut away?
    It may take some time to recover with sprouts of new branches next spring. Usually a pruning thins only about a third of leaf area in order for the tree to to feed itself.
    As Cicero said, Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.

  3. #3
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Yes, it looks like your neighbor went to town on that tree. Magnolias are beautiful--I hope it comes back.
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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    AS far as I can see, that isn't the way one would prune anything unless the ultimate goal is to take it down completely.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Having a little difficulty seeing this as the pictures appear to be from different viewpoints. Is tree remaining after the pruning just the blunt arms with all the smaller branches and leaf buds cut away?
    It may take some time to recover with sprouts of new branches next spring. Usually a pruning thins only about a third of leaf area in order for the tree to to feed itself.
    Sorry. They are from different perspectives. The now picture was taken from in our yard.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    AS far as I can see, that isn't the way one would prune anything unless the ultimate goal is to take it down completely.
    Our other next door neighbor prunes her rose bushes this way which seems to be the right thing to do but flowers are different from trees.

  7. #7
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Yes, cutting back perennial flowers is way different than pruning a tree.


    Magnolia Tree Pruning Although pruning magnolia trees is not necessary, young trees can be shaped as they grow. Trimming a magnolia tree when it is young will also improve the health of the tree and encourage more blooms. Mature magnolia trees do not recover from pruning and can sustain fatal wounds. Therefore, magnolia tree pruning on older specimens should only be done as a last resort when necessary.
    Read more at Gardening Know How: Magnolia Tree Pruning: Learn How And When To Prune Magnolia Trees https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/orn...olia-trees.htm
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  8. #8
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Ugggh. Thanks for the link. I guess now we need to start thinking about what we want to do for shade next summer.

  9. #9
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    Yes, that tree is a goner. Too bad, they can be so pretty!
    Maybe look for some sort of moveable shade structure?

  10. #10
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Its been about a month now and there are seven new shoots growing from hacked off branches, each with seven or eight leaves. Hopefully it will grow more shoots as spring progresses. Otherwise it has a long way to go before it is back to its former glory. But I suspect my neighbor will never have to trim again. (Hes in his early 70s)

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