Added a nursery stock star magnolia to the collection. Advice needed

Picked up another clearance section plant to feed the addiction. I’ve wanted a magnolia, but the leaves are too large. Then I stumbled upon star magnolia. While not exactly the same thing it’s close enough. For now I’m going to put its container in the ground for winter in my “bon-yard”. Looking for advice on chopping it next spring though. In the pic the red lines represent where I initially thought I’d make cuts aka play it safe. The yellow lines represent where I think I actually should make the cuts and then work on beefing up the taper from the base to the remaining branch. Thoughts?


My best advice from working with them is get movement in the branches asap. They are stubborn almost as soon as they lignify. There is a period where the bark gets a dark brown before the final whitening signification and I found that to be the best time.

Mine have also always grown back well from intense chops as well, and they back bud profusely. Great little trees.

The leaves will frustrate you still, but you just have to keep on top of careful fertilization and know that the first flush of the year will always produce massive leaves (compared to the scale of the tree).

Design-wise, good luck with a fun piece and enjoy it! I will let others weigh in.

Thanks for the advice! Good to know about the stubborn branches. Yeah, I figured the leaf size would be an interesting problem. Does partial defoliation work to get second finer flush?

Sure does. And it was also beneficial to cut the individual leaves to smaller size.

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Michael Hagedorn’s latest blog post is about this species

I saw that. If I’m understanding what he’s saying the idea is basically to avoid making the tree go into panic mode by removing all of the shoots. Instead, leave some sacrifices on to help the tree feel nice and secure and then remove the sacrifices.

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Yes, assuage your tree’s insecurities. I need a tree shrink too, such fragile egos.

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