How To Trim A Magnolia Tree

Magnolia trees are a beautiful addition to any landscape, but they do require proper maintenance to stay healthy and vibrant. One of the most important aspects of magnolia tree care is pruning. In this article, we will discuss how to trim a magnolia tree properly to keep it healthy and looking its best.

When to Trim a Magnolia Tree

The best time to trim a magnolia tree is during the dormant season, which is typically in late winter or early spring. This is when the tree is not actively growing, and it is easier to see the structure of the tree without the leaves.

Tools Needed to Trim a Magnolia Tree

Before trimming your magnolia tree, you will need a few essential tools. These include a pair of pruning shears, loppers, a pruning saw, gloves, and safety glasses.

How to Trim a Magnolia Tree

To trim a magnolia tree, start by removing any dead or diseased branches. These branches can be identified by their lack of leaves or signs of decay. Cut the branches back to healthy wood using your pruning shears or pruning saw.

Removing Suckers

Magnolia trees are notorious for producing suckers, which are small shoots that grow from the base of the tree. These suckers can drain energy from the tree and should be removed as soon as possible. Use your pruning shears to cut the suckers as close to the base of the tree as possible.

Trimming the Branches

Next, trim any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. These branches can damage each other and should be removed to prevent further damage. Cut the branches back to the main trunk or to a healthy lateral branch.

Thinning the Canopy

To improve air circulation and sunlight penetration, thin the canopy of the magnolia tree. This involves removing some of the smaller branches and twigs throughout the tree. Be careful not to remove too much, as this can stress the tree.

Shaping the Tree

Finally, shape the magnolia tree by removing any branches that are growing in an undesirable direction. This will help to maintain the tree’s natural form and keep it looking its best.

FAQs About Trimming a Magnolia Tree

Q: Can I trim my magnolia tree in the summer?

A: It is not recommended to trim a magnolia tree in the summer, as this can stress the tree and make it more susceptible to disease and pests.

Q: Can I prune my magnolia tree if it is flowering?

A: It is best to wait until the magnolia tree has finished flowering before pruning. This will ensure that you do not remove any buds or flowers.

Q: How much should I prune my magnolia tree?

A: It is important not to remove more than 25% of the tree’s canopy in one season. Removing too much can stress the tree and make it more vulnerable to disease and pests.


Trimming a magnolia tree is an essential part of its care and maintenance. By following these simple steps, you can keep your magnolia tree healthy and looking its best for years to come. Remember to always use proper safety equipment and to prune only during the dormant season to avoid stressing the tree.