De-Leafing my Black Tulip Magnolia?

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    I love my Black Tulip Magnolia! It has been in the ground 3 years now and has for the first time this summer really started expanding its branches. But … I never saw a picture before I bought it showing how it looks AFTER it drops its blooms and leafs out. Although still very attractive, the dark green and super thick canopy of leaves looks very HEAVY to me.

    So I’m wondering if I can remove some of the leaves in the middle of the tree to open it up a bit and show off its branches? I’d like to do it early summer after it leafs out and wouldn’t remove any new buds which are forming.

    What are your thoughts on this? Will doing this decrease the number of FLOWERS the following spring? I don’t want to do that !!!

    Also, wondering if I’ll need to keep doing the leaf removal every year to maintain the same look or if in future years, the tree will automatically stop growing LEAVES where they have been removed.

    Thank you!

    The Greengoblin

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    Magnolia do really grow very dark during the summer. My neighbor had one, it was magnificent in spring but when summer came along our own garden was in perpetual dark shade. We struck a deal where he would have a few branches trimmed out throughout the center of the tree, this kind of thinned the tree and let some light trickle through, it was nice for that year and the next. There were less flowers but mostly because there were less branches for them to appear on, which makes sense.

    But it really needs doing every couple years because it grows back very lush. Magnolia will grow back even on a stump if it’s cut back, so anything you remove this year to let light in will trigger new growth where that light hits. It’s not like some other trees that only sprout new branches from higher up, magnolia really can take a pruning and bounce back.

    We didn’t talk about removing just leaves because the tree was so big that it felt like a lot of work.

    All in all I’d say why not give it a try? After all, it won’t kill the tree or hurt it. If you do it several times in the same year, that might be a problem, but only once should be fine. And as long as you keep most leaves on the tree it shouldn’t stress it too much, in my opinion.

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