How to Prune a Magnolia Tulip Bush

Written by benjamin boyd
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How to Prune a Magnolia Tulip Bush
The saucer magnolia is a prolific bloomer. (Travelif/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The tulip tree or "saucer" magnolia is a deciduous tree or shrub that is known for its beautiful blooms early in the season. The tree's foliage arrives after the blooms, creating a delightful spectacle of flowers. Magnolia x soulangeana usually reaches a size of 20 feet, and it is sometimes referred to as a bush. While it usually requires little pruning over the course of the year, trimming the dead flowers right after they bloom is recommended. It is best to do this when the weather is still cold, near the end of winter.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Bypass pruner
  • Pole pruner

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  1. 1

    Begin by looking for any dead or frail-looking branches. Remove these with the pole or bypass pruners, making sure to leave a clean edge. If it is a main limb, be sure to cut it right at the point where it meets the trunk.

  2. 2

    Make clean, straight cuts, but be aware that trimming larger branches may create smaller sprouts eventually.

  3. 3

    Cut the stems of dying blooms at the point where they extend from the branch. Pruning right after blooming helps to enhance next year's flowers because they are formed during the summer months.

  4. 4

    Remove the lower branches, which could eventually be an obstruction, though the saucer magnolia is known for its low-hanging canopies.

  5. 5

    Emphasise proper growth by stepping back and imagining the future growth of your tree. If some branches seem longer than they should, cut them back to structure the tree the way you want it.

Tips and warnings

  • Clean and oil your equipment to ensure lasting use.

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