Magnolia roots?

mare2(5bSt.Louis)June 19, 2008

Last year, I planted a sweet little Magnolia virginiana 'Moon Glow' next to my deck. There is also a young m. grandiflora 'Bracken's Brown Beauty' nearby. Now I'm considering replacing the deck with a patio (in brick or cobblestone or tile), but I'm concerned about what their shallow roots would do as far as pushing up the surface and making it uneven. Bad idea? Would a raised patio work? Thanks for your input.

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kman04(z6 KS)

Magnolias don't have roots like most other trees. Their roots never have that fine nearly microscopic thread like phase, where they work their ways into cracks and under patios, etc. only to later thicken and become woody causing damage. Magnolias roots are thick, relatively soft and fleshy from the get go and never become fully woody, so they shouldn't be of any risk in damaging a patio.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 1:31AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Magnolia roots can cause problems with sidewalks, driveways, patios, and foundations. A number of websites specifically list M. grandiflora as being damaging to city sidewalks. It may take years for a small tree to cause any noticeable problems, but it will eventually happen if the tree is close to the patio.

Here is a link that might be useful: One of Many Examples

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 9:59AM
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kman04(z6 KS)

I noticed that both the linked study and the other study it referenced were done on the West coast. I'm a bit skeptical on the information regarding Magnolia grandiflora, since every other study I've read(all done in the SE US) don't show M. grandiflora as having any potential for causing damage. Also, from just a pure anecdotal evidence, I've seen plenty of M. grandiflora planted as street trees right next to sidewalks in the Los Angeles area, and San Francisco area and have yet to notice one causing any sidewalk damage. Have you seen any causing damage in your area brandon7?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 2:11AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Whatever damage a M. grandiflora may or may not cause, a M. virginiana (Sweetbay) is a very different tree, and I think the likelihood of it causing any damage to anything is slim to none.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 6:02AM
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Perhaps more to the point, I suspect putting down a hardcore patio like this would damage the tree's roots, and quite possibly kill it.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 7:14AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I have seen M. grandiflora lift sidewalks and borders around beds.

Assuming your right about the M. virginiana, having half the patio unaffected doesn't seem like it would be that much of a positive (unless your an optimist).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 9:33AM
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srosso(z6 NY)

on tuesday, my backhoe guy mistakenly cut through and removed a 12" piece of tree root, 3" in diameter. this is a tulip magnolia, northern new jersey, zone 6A. does anyone know what i can do to keep this from harming or killing the tree? thanks very much.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:23AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


You might want to start your own thread in situations like this. Starting your own thread will eliminate bothering the OP with responses unrelated to their original concern, save all of us the time required to read through the old unrelated messages, make future searches for information more productive, and allow you to directly receive responses.

In any case, the relative damage will partly depend on how big your tree is. If you are talking about a single root from a large, mature tree, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you still have access to the damaged area, you could clean the damaged area up a little. A smoothly cut root would be less likely to cause problems than a torn one. Besides that, there's not much you can do but hope that the tree will overcome the damage.

If it's a big tree, don't worry; it will probably be fine. If it's a small tree, don't worry; there's not much you can do anyway.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:52AM
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srosso(z6 NY)

thank you brandon

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:58AM
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