The Q&A Archives: Pruning

Question: When and how do you prune a southern magnolia tree. It's not dense and's very sparse. How do I prune it to get it to grow thicker and fuller?

Answer: Young Magnolia grandiflora trees can often seem a bit gangly and thin, but they usually fill in nicely with age over time. If the tree was grown from seed, it is possible to find seedlings with naturally denser or thinner habits, wider or more upright form, and so on due to natural variation but in general these are ultimately dense, thick trees. In my experience, pruning is rarely needed or recommended for this kind of tree. In any case, pruning would be unlikely to change its habit or form in the long run, especially once it gets too tall to trim.

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