Magnolia Trees

Tree Branches Appear Dead


jan9231 added on October 14, 2015 | Answered

This spring branches were hit by frost and no blooms. Those branches appear dead, although they have some sprouts near the base of the trunk. Should those branches be cut out or will they come back next spring? No seed heads are forming on those branches. The frost killed all the blooms overnight in the spring. I have a star magnolia (?). Pink and white blooms. How extensive a pruning should I do? The enclosed picture is the only one I can find with the tree in bloom. If it needs to have the wood that appears dead cut off, I would like to mark it so that I know just where to cut after all the leaves have fallen for less clean up. Thank you. The tree was here and only about 5 foot tall when we moved in 1975.


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ANSWERS
Downtoearthdigs
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 16, 2015

Test the branches, if they snap off, they are dead. If they are pliable they are still likely alive.

You also can scratch the bark. If there is green underneath they are likely still alive.

Since the frost killed the blooms, did the tree leave out at all? No signs of leaves on the tree itself also would indicate the tree has died.

It is possible for the tree to die off and the roots remain alive. Your Magnolia may be of a grafted tree and the shoots growing would be from the root stock. This means that the new growth would not likely be the same as the original tree.

I would wait until spring to prune back the tree. It would really do no harm to wait and see how the tree does in the spring.

Here are some links for you.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/tgen/tree-scratch-test.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/magnolia/magnolia-tree-care.htm
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/magnolia/pruning-magnolia-trees.htm

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