I live in Derbyshire, UK and have a Magnolia tree which in recent years seems to have gone a bit out of control, i.e. much bigger than I think it ought to be for the space it occupies.

I feel it needs to be half to two-thirds its current size, but am unsure if such brutal pruning would harm it. Also, when is the best time of year to do so? I have included a picture of how it currently looks.

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1 Answer 1


You can do some pruning now, its not quite too late as its early winter. However, heavy pruning all in one go is not advisable - deciduous magnolias can take a long time to recover from pruning, and hard pruning is likely to cause a lot of watershoots.

If you want to reduce its size, the best way is to do it over 3 years, reducing the top branches and twigs by no more than a third, and preferably only by a quarter each time, but even then, you may find watershoots increase and the tree may not flower very well for quite a while. Further info under Pruning and Training here https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/popular/magnolia/growing-guide

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