Pruning is an essential part of caring for any young tree, but knowing when to prune a magnolia tree is essential to achieving successful results. If pruned at the wrong time or seasons, magnolia trees may not be able to recover from the damage and can become susceptible to weather and parasites that may lead to the trees’ death.
Prune Younger Trees
Only young magnolia trees should be pruned to help the tree grow in a straight, vertical line. Pruning mature trees can lead to irreparable damage that the tree may never recover from. In addition, mature trees do not require pruning to maintain their health. Thus, only magnolia trees that are a few years old should be pruned. After the tree has established its course and position, it will be better left to its own devices to maintain longevity.
Magnolia trees should be pruned on a different schedule than ordinary trees. Rather than waiting until late fall or early spring, these trees should be pruned at the end of their flowering season. In most Southern climates, this means late spring to mid summer are prime pruning seasons for magnolia trees. Magnolia trees will cease flowering around April to June and this is when they are at their healthiest and most resilient to the pruning process. Waiting too late into the late summer and fall seasons may result in pruning off buds that would be flowers the following spring and inhibiting the tree’s growth for the following year. Pruning magnolia trees should always be done sparingly, allowing the tree to regrow over its dormancy before the next flowering season.