A tree that explodes in beautiful blossoms is a homeowner’s dream plant for their yard. Nothing draws attention to your home like a gorgeous tree in bloom. When you try to find the perfect one for your home, there’s a very good chance you’ll come upon the southern magnolia tree as one of your options for a tree that blooms like no other. The delicate white petals of a magnolia tree’s flowers are the perfect sign that spring has sprung, and you won’t regret adding one to your yard.

However, as with many trees, southern magnolias need proper care and attention to ensure they grow to be as incredibly breathtaking as possible. Pruning is a topic of tree ownership that many people struggle with. How much is too much? When should you start to prune your trees? How do you know that you’re helping and not hurting the tree? We want to make sure you can enjoy your magnolia tree well into the future. Here is how and when to prune a southern magnolia tree so you can do so with confidence that you’re doing the right thing.

Magnolia Growing Conditions

Before we can really start talking about the proper methods for pruning a magnolia tree, it’s important to know what kind of tree you’re working with. Magnolias aren’t the most difficult trees to grow, but they do require some attention and care to make sure that they grow strong and show off those flowers that you’re looking for. These factors will have a big impact on your magnolia tree’s growth.

Hardiness Zone

The United States are broken up into hardiness zones that help us determine where certain plants will grow the best. For southern magnolia trees, you want to stick in between Zone 7 and Zone 9. It is possible to grow a southern magnolia tree in Hardiness Zone 10 or even Zone 6b, but you may not get the same level of growth or blooming as you would in the recommended zones.


When determining where to place your southern magnolia tree, you want to consider how much sunlight it will get throughout the day. Southern magnolia trees tend to do best when they have access to full sun, or even just light shade. The shade becomes more important if you happen to live somewhere where it gets excessively hot or dry. You’ll also want to keep it protected if you live somewhere with heavy wind as southern magnolias have relatively brittle branches and delicate flowers when they bloom.

Soil Concerns

When it comes to the right kind of soil for your southern magnolia, your top concern should be to make sure that the soil can drain well. Soil that holds onto water for too long isn’t good for any magnolia tree as it can waterlog and damage the roots. Moist soil will help a magnolia tree the most, and the best kind of soil for magnolia trees will also be slightly acidic.


Southern magnolia trees can grow to significant sizes. You won’t have to worry about it taking over your entire yard, but it’s important to consider their growth when determining where to plant them. Give them a little bit of space to grow bigger and you’ll end up with a much more beautiful tree in the end, as the larger they get, the more blossoms they produce.

Pruning Your Southern Magnolia Tree

Knowing how and when to prune a southern magnolia tree can take time to perfect. Your location, climate, and variety can all affect the perfect time to start pruning. In general, there are a few rules of thumb you can rely on to make sure that you don’t overdo it and that your tree will blossom even more beautifully the following spring.

Necessary Tools

The nice thing about a southern magnolia tree is that pruning them doesn’t take much more than simple pruning tools that you can get anywhere. There’s no need for any fancy or advanced tools that might cost you a fortune. Your go-to tools for pruning your southern magnolia tree are standard pruning shears, or lopping shears if you think you’ll need them, and possibly even a handsaw if your tree has larger branches you need to prune. One important note about your tools: if you suspect that you’ll prune a diseased or dead limb, always make sure you sterilize the tools beforehand in either an alcohol or diluted bleach-based solution.

Where To Start

When you look at all the branches on your magnolia tree, the best place to start will probably become quite obvious to you fairly quickly. Any branch that’s dead should be taken off as soon as possible to protect the tree and make it look much nicer. If you notice that any branches are broken or look like they may be infected with something, you can safely remove those as well. Always shoot for a 45-degree angle cut as close to the base of the limb as possible. Leaving branch stubs can do more damage to the tree in the long run, similar to how tearing the tree’s bark can also cause more damage.

The Best Time To Prune Your Tree

For almost any southern magnolia variety, the best time to prune them is somewhere between late spring and summer. You definitely don’t want to start pruning until the flowers fall off the tree; otherwise, you won’t get the most out of those stunning blossoms! You don’t want to wait too long to start pruning though. The longer you wait, the more you risk your tree not having the same number of blossoms when next spring comes around. The only exception to these rules is if you notice branches that are already dead or dying. You should prune those limbs away right when you see them so they can’t spread anything to the rest of your tree.

For some of the best southern magnolia trees for sale online, you’ve already found yourself in the right place. Here at Plant Me Green, we take great pride in delivering spectacular, healthy trees of all kinds to our customers. Take a look at the huge selection of trees we have for sale, and you’re sure to find the tree that will perfectly complement the rest of your landscape.

How and When To Prune a Southern Magnolia Tree

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