The Q&A Archives: Magnolia tree growth

Question: We just planted a magnolia tree last year. The top of the tree seems dead, but it grew a new branch on the ground. Do we just let it grow or trim the top off?

Answer: It's difficult to guide you without seeing the magnolia. If you are sure the top is dead (do a little pruning just to make sure), then it will be best to remove the dead parts and allow the sprout from the roots to grow into a new tree. You may need to protect it over the winter months until it matures enough to tolerate your winter weather. You can do this simply by making a cylinder out of chicken wire and encircling the new tree, leaving plenty of space around the tree to stuff straw or shredded leaves in and around the trunk and branches of the young tree. Good luck with your magnolia.

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