We are new owners of an old house (with 30' magnolia) in Louisiana. Previous owner allowed Cats Claw to overrun the tree for many years. After removing 3-foot thick block of detritus and extended vines as carefully as possible, we find: a central lower 16' that is healthy; a mostly barren 10' of leader (above the 16' of healthy tree) which is broken off at the top; several branches extending from the healthy part that are barren for 8' and then a nice healthy leafy part. We fertilized to the drip line and waited 5 months after vine removal; the tree has a few sprouts in the barren areas but still looks like Medusala. Bottom line: can it possibly recover, or prune the barren branches and leader (yes, top the tree of barren broken leader), or just cut it down as a loss and plant new??? Many thanks.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It will never regain its original shape, however I do believe it will recover. If you want the tree to maintain the typical shape of a normal tree, then you will have to replant, but it is likely the tree will continue to survive. Here is an article for more information on pruning: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/magnolia/pruning-magnolia-trees.htm