How to Prune Magnolia Grandiflora

Updated February 21, 2017

Magnolia grandiflora, also known as Southern magnolia, is native to the U.S. Southern states. This large broadleaved evergreen can grow from 60 to 80 feet tall with a 30- to 40-foot-wide spread. Large, showy flowers, 8 to 12 inches wide, bloom in the summer and fade to bright red seeds in the fall. The Southern magnolia needs little pruning to keep it healthy. However, cutting back the tree keeps its growth in check if it is overgrowing its bounds in your yard.

Remove all of the dead, diseased and damaged branches from the Magnolia grandiflora as they occur throughout the year. Cut back the branches to the tree's trunk.Use the pruning saw for branches larger than 3 inches in diameter and the pruning loppers for branches smaller than 3 inches in diameter.

Prune any weak or spindly branches from the Southern magnolia tree with the pruning shears. Cut the branches off at the trunk of the tree.

Cut back any overgrown branches on the Southern magnolia. Cut the branches back to within the confines of the rest of the tree. Cut the branch off right before the bud union with the pruning shears or the pruning loppers.


Prune the Southern magnolia in early to mid summer after it finishes flowering.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Pruning loppers
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About the Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.