How to Trim a Magnolia Tree


Over 80 species of magnolia trees exist. Magnolias are generally large ornamental trees that bloom flowers in spring until early fall. While trimming should not be needed with most magnolia trees, some owners like to shape them, especially if there are nearby trees or buildings. In addition, trimming is necessary if branches are damaged by ice, wind or disease.

Step 1

Use a saw to trim thicker branches and pruning clippers for smaller branches. A straight cut is best. Seal larger branches with a tree sealer, available at most nurseries, to prevent sap from seeping out.

Step 2

Trim a magnolia tree after it has finished flowering, usually in the fall. You can also prune it during the winter months as well. You can prune damaged branches at anytime, if needed.

Step 3

Trim a magnolia while it is still a young tree, if possible. While you may need to cut off damaged branches from time to time, the best time to shape a tree is during the first few years after planting. Older trees may not heal as well as younger trees when trimmed.

Step 4

Trim branches as close to the trunk as possible. For smaller branches that are offshoots of other branches, cut it off near the adjoining branch. This is true for trimming off damaged branches or trimming for shaping purposes.

Step 5

Plan out shaping. Do not cut branches that are too close together. If you do, the next flowering season, you may have large gaps with no flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Saw
  • Pruning clippers
  • Tree sealer


  • Perdue University
  • Clemson University
Keywords: Ornamental tree, Prune magnolia, Cut magnolia

About this Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.