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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - January 27, 2010

From: Crockett, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Should I top my scraggly magnolia tree? No
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Mr.Smarty Plants, I live in Crockett,Tx. My husband and I just bought this house. In the front yard I have a very tall,scraggly magnolia tree due to trees growing up around it. We have cut some of those trees down and I want to know if I should top the tree by 15+ft? I would rather have a shorter,fuller tree. Would that be ok and when is the best time to do it? She just looks so pitiful..

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks the answers to your questions are NO and NEVER*.

Here are three websites that supply more details to corroborate these answers.

Plant Amnesty

Urban Tree Foundation

Trees Are Good by the International Society of Arboriculture

I suggest that you consult a certified arborist to help you with this problem. The "Trees are Good" website can provide you with information for locating and selecting an arborist  in you area.

 * trimming to clear utility lines could be an exception

 

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