When to Prune Magnolia Stellata 'Rosea' Star?

Asked September 9, 2016, 6:57 PM EDT

Hello I just sent this question to mcmastergardeners@yahoo.com, but realized that I meant to send it through this Ask an Expert service. I apologize for the duplicate. I have a pretty large Magnolia Stellata 'Rosea' Star in my front yard. It is one of the first plants to bloom in my Sellwood yard each spring. I'd like to prune some of the leggy shoots that it is producing and do some overall shaping of the tree. When would be the best time to do the pruning? Should I wait until the leaves are off later this fall or would it be okay to do now? Ideally, I'd like to shape it before it blooms next spring. If it would help you answer to see photos of the tree and shoots, please let me know and I can send some. Thanks in advance for your advice. Sue

Multnomah County Oregon

3 Responses

Thanks for your question about pruning Magnolia Stellata! In general, prune in late winter. Some plants need to be pruned in late winter; others shortly after they've bloomed. Magnolias fall into the second group (so you've missed the window for this year.) Here's a great chart (page 2) to give you information about your magnolia. You can prune it now, but you run the risk that you'll lose many blooms next spring.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Thank you. It's quite helpful to have the chart you linked. I've pruned the tree in past years in the fall after the leaves have all dropped. There has not been a noticeable lack of blooms. I'm mostly pruning the shoots to keep the tree from getting too large. But maybe I'll let the shoots go this year until the spring to see if there's a difference.