The Q&A Archives: Magnolia tree question

Question: I moved into a house that has a magonlia tree at the north/east corner. The tree is very thin and if it blooms, they brown immediately and fall off. I would like to know what I need to do to encourage it to grow fuller and have the blooms last longer. I have sandy loam soil. Do you prune this type of tree? Any suggests or comments will be greatly appreciated.

Lisa Pittman

Answer: Lisa,

Normally a magnolia is not going to need pruning. However to get more fullness you could lightly snip back the end of the shoots to encourage branching. Just don't cut back beyond the green foliage if you choose to do this.

A magnolia will develop its shape and fullness in part from its genetics and in part from the soil and growing conditions on the site. If you provide light applications of fertilizer periodically from March to August and supplemental watering in the hot dry summer months you should be able to get more growth from the tree.

Magnolia in not generally that well adapted to your area of the state as soils are often higher in pH and more clayey.

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