How to Prune Little Gem Magnolia Trees


The Little Gem Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem') is a variety of the Southern Magnolia that is smaller and more compact. It has an upright shrubby form, rather than a tree form. It grows 20 to 30 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The showy fragrant flowers of the Little Gem Magnolia are creamy white and measure 3 to 5 inches across. They appear in the spring and sporadically throughout warm weather. The Little Gem Magnolia is a slow-growing evergreen tree and needs little pruning.

Step 1

Use lopping shears to cut limbs that measure ½ to 1 inch in diameter. Use a bow saw or pruning saw to cut larger limbs. Saw off large branches just outside of the branch collar, a region of raised bark at the base of the branch.

Step 2

Prune out crossed or bent limbs with the lopping shears or saw.

Step 3

Remove dead, damaged and diseased limbs and branches with the lopping shears or saw.

Step 4

Trim wayward branches or limbs that spoil the shape of the tree with lopping shears.

Tips and Warnings

  • If a Little Gem Magnolia needs major pruning, or the area that needs pruning is extremely high, contact a certified arborist for assistance. Consult the local Yellow Pages or call your local county extension office for contact information for certified arborists.

Things You'll Need

  • Lopping shears
  • Bow saw or pruning saw


  • Maryland Cooperative Extension: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • Little Gem Magnolia
  • Oregon State: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: Little Gem Magnolia, pruning magnolia, Southern Magnolia

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.