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Thursday - April 16, 2015

From: Silver Spring, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Southern Magnolia Damaged by Deer
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a young Southern Magnolia (about 6 feet tall) that was damaged by deer on the main trunk. The bottom 2 feet looks okay, but where they damaged it and tore branches off, and above that, the leaves are dying. Is it safe to cut off the damaged 4 feet at the main trunk?

ANSWER:

So sorry that the deer have damaged your young Magnolia grandiflora. From our website ... this is one of the most beautiful native trees, evergreen with straight trunk, conical crown, and very fragrant, very large, white flowers. The pyramidal southern magnolia does not get extremely large in most of its range. It is usually 50 ft. tall, rarely growing to 100 ft. They have a dense growth of smooth, leathery evergreen leaves that are Alternate (Placed singly at different heights on the stem; not opposite or whorled.) 5–10 inches long, shiny on top and rusty below. Fragrant, creamy-white flowers, which discolor easily if bruised, appear on the ends of thick, tough stems all over the tree. They are cup-shaped, about 8 inches across, with 6 thick petals, wider at the tip, where they are cupped. The blossoms open about 9:00 A.M. and close at night for 2 or 3 days; then all the stamens are shed and the flower reopens, turns brown, and disintegrates. The flowers appear throughout the summer and into fall. The flowers produce conelike seedpods that contain large red seeds. When the pods open, the seeds often fall from their place and hang by silky threads.

Planted around the world in warm temperate and subtropical regions, it is a popular ornamental and shade tree, hardy north to Philadelphia. Several horticultural varieties have been developed.

If the deer have girdled the tree by damaging the entire circumference of the cambium layer, the zone just under the bark where water and nutrients flow, then there is little recourse but to prune out the damaged section. Pruning should be done during the growing season because dormant magnolias do not heal easily.

Information about regular pruning of young trees can be found on the treesaregood.com website.

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

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