Magnolia trees are ornamental blossoming trees that produce fragrant, white blooms during the spring months. Generally, magnolia trees do not require extensive pruning to maintain robust health and an attractive shape. Immediately after the magnolia tree finishes blooming for the season, perform light pruning to remove any dead and diseased branches. Pruning at this time will enable the magnolia tree to heal before entering the dormancy stage in the autumn.
Wait to prune a magnolia tree until the blooms on the tree are faded and dropping to the ground. At this time, stand back from the tree and look at it carefully. Assess the shape of the tree and look to see if branches encroach on anything nearby. Find any broken or dead branches and make note of them for removal. Find any branches that cross each other and determine if they are rubbing against each other. You must remove these branches because they make wounds where infections can enter the tree.
Use the lopper to remove any dead or diseased branches that are less than 2 inches in diameter. Find the branch collar of branches you intend to remove. The branch collar is the thickened portion of the branch that extends from the joint where the smaller branch extends out from the larger branch. Remove branches just above the branch collar because the collar will grow over the cut and the tree will heal properly.
Use the pole pruner to reach higher and larger branches. If you are removing encroaching branches or reshaping the magnolia tree, trim as minimally as possible. It is best to accomplish pruning of this sort over a period of two to three years instead of all at one time. Find the branch collar of these branches and cut just above it as in step two.