Magnolia Trees

Southern Magnolia

Anonymous added on September 22, 2015 | Answered

Our southern magnolia has greatly suffered due to the drought of the last two years. It dropped nearly all its leaves, so we now have long, skinny branches with a few new leaves on the very end. Can we cut the branches back (they are about 1 inch in diameter at the thickest point) to stimulate new growth of leaves closer to the tree's trunk? It sure is ugly in its current condition. Thanks.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 23, 2015

Yes, if it has gotten unsightly, you can prune it to your desired appearance. Just take no more than a third of the plant at one time. Keep in mind that the leaf drop is just a natural response to the drought-like conditions and the tree will regrow its leaves once the stress is relieved, so giving it a bit of extra watering should also help.

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