Cutting magnolia: You should definitely pay attention to this – tips & tricks

Cutting magnolia: You should definitely pay attention to this - tips & tricks.  Pink magnolia blossom (Source: Getty Images / unkas_photo)

With its large flowers, the magnolia is an impressive plant for every garden – which needs appropriate care. Above all, a cut is important both in spring and in autumn. However, mistakes can cause serious damage.

  • Does the magnolia need to be trimmed?
  • When is the ideal time to cut?
  • How is the magnolia trimmed?
  • What are you allowed to do?
  • What does the magnolia cut bring?
  • Does a body section make sense?
  • When does the magnolia bloom?

Magnolias (Magnoliaceae) grow slowly – this is a benefit for anyone who has a small garden. However, if they are not trimmed properly, they can become relatively wide. When and how far should you prune your magnolia tree?

How do you care for a magnolia?

The magnolia is one of the flowering trees and is relatively easy to care for – but also very sensitive. Many varieties of magnolia, for example, even thrive in planters and are therefore ideal as eye-catchers on the terrace or balcony.

It is best to plant hydrangeas in the garden while they are in bloom.  (Source: Thinkstock by Getty-Images)

The soil should be rich in humus and nutrients and as permeable and loose as possible. This makes it easier for the sensitive roots to grow. A uniformly moist soil is also important. If the earth dries out, this can lead to stunted growth of the branches and twigs. A thin layer of mulch around the trunk, which is renewed annually, can be useful here.

A sunny location protected from weather conditions and wind is ideal for the magnolia.

Does the magnolia need to be trimmed?

In contrast to the forsythia or ornamental currant, the wood does not actually need pruning. However, so that the magnolia does not take up too much space, you should regularly shape it. But even if you want a large number of flowers quickly, a cut is unavoidable.

However, if you want to forego regular pruning, this is not a problem for the magnolia. In this case, the abundance of flowers only increases slowly, but increases steadily into old age.

When is the ideal time to cut?

As with other early bloomers, the best time to prune the magnolia is immediately after blooming. If the cut is not made until autumn, the sensitive plant no longer has enough time to cope with it. Then it can happen that no flowers form in the following spring.


If your magnolia is a late bloomer, you should postpone the pruning time accordingly. Small flower buds on the branches are a good indication. If these are not available, you can start trimming. Another advantage of pruning late bloomers is that the sap pressure is lower in late summer. The plant then overcomes such interventions more easily.

Magnolia tree: The plant can become very large if it is not cut back.  (Source: Getty Images / Posti)Magnolia tree: The plant can become very large if it is not cut back. (Source: Posti / Getty Images)

How is the magnolia trimmed?

The pruning not only serves to strengthen the following flowering period and to bring the wood into shape. Use the opportunity to remove weak, sick or old branches.

It is important to proceed carefully when cutting magnolia:

  • Cut the twigs with a very sharp knife right at the roots of the branches. Branches are sawn off directly on the trunk.
  • Make sure the cut surface is smooth and tight. Otherwise water shoots can form from protruding stumps.
  • Seal the cut surfaces with fungicidal tree wax to avoid a fungal attack.

What are you allowed to do?

  • Vertically growing branches and inward-facing shoots should be removed.
  • Sick and dead branches should be cut off as early as possible. This will strengthen the magnolia and prevent fungi or pests from attacking the tree at this point.
  • The cut should be as symmetrical as possible so that the crop is not stressed too much on one side.

What does the magnolia cut bring?

In the magnolia, new shoots with a heavily branched crown area form from the end and upper side buds. However, this area already reaches its optimal flower base after around four years and then becomes obsolete very quickly. With the right cut, you can rejuvenate the flowering wood and thus ensure a new splendor of flowers. However, a too pronounced taper cut is usually not necessary.

The pruning, in which diseased and old branches are removed, can be done annually or at intervals of three to five years. If you want to take care of your magnolia and cut off several twigs and branches, you will need several years for this. Too strong a care cut robs the flowering plant too much of its strength.


Does a body section make sense?

If you would like to plant a new magnolia in your garden, a top cut makes sense. The young shrubs from the hardware store often have only two basic shoots that are only slightly or not at all branched. In order to achieve full bloom later, cut off the main shoots about a third above a shoot bud after planting. This shoot bud should be directed outwards so that the crown does not grow inwards later.

When does the magnolia bloom?

Depending on the species, magnolias bloom at different times in the year. Star magnolias (Magnolia stellata) bloom from March. Tulip magnolias (Magnolia soulangeana) even bear twice a year Flowers in creamy white or pale pink – in the main flowering season in spring and often also in the post-flowering period in June and September.

Which other garden trees are ideal for small and large gardens, can You here read up.

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