Magnolias too close to house?

johnkirkingJune 22, 2013

I bought my house just over a year ago and have been wondering if the magnolias in front were too close to the house. I don't know what type they are, but the seem to grow up not out. They don't appear to have any roots too close to the surface either. What do you think?

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If it were mine, it would be gone within the week, but what a shame. It would have been such a beautiful tree if planted in a better location.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 9:39PM
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Looks like they maybe are the little gem cultivar, so not as much potential for hugeness. Little gem are a "dwarf" version of the giant southern magnolia. They can still get tall, but are supposed to stay more columnar.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:09PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

do they serve a function ...

i am surprised.. they have been properly pruned to be OFF the house ... so that is good ...

and i would usually default to removal ... saying something along the lines that it is 10 to 15 feet too close to the house ...

but i never lived in TX ... do they serve some function ...

could replacement be planted 5 to 10 feet further out .. and while they grow ... just mess with these... and when the replacements get big enough.. remove these ...???

is removal w/in your ability .. ???


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

It would be a shame to lose such a nice tree. But, I think in order to keep it the right size for the house it would have to be pruned way down to maybe 2/3 of it's size. I've seen really nice mags espaliered along a brick wall. Whether there's a safety issue with roots, I'm not sure.

Major pruning at that height is likely a job for an arborist. And I'm not sure how much pruning mags can take in one season. I know hollies can take a lot, but not sure about Mags.

Once pruned down it should grow back much more densely, but will then require a pruning each year to keep it in bounds.

So I guess the question is, how much effort do you want to put forth to keep this tree smaller? How much annual maintenance? I'd be tempted to keep it, myself, but again, it may become a matter of economics or time for you.

Can't tell if it's blocking a window, which I wouldn't like.

If you tell us which zone/city you live in we could give you ideas on evergreen replacement small trees which would stay more in bounds.

This post was edited by dave_in_nova on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 8:59

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 8:57AM
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I am on the east side of Keller, literally right on the edge of zone 7b and 8a.

These are two trees on opposite sides of the front of the house btw. I was thinking they might be little gem from what I've read about Magnolias. I knew when we bought the house that they looked too close, but haven't had the heart to take them out since they look nice and shade the front of the house.

It looks like I'll have to get an arborist out here to take a look and hope for the best. If pruning is economical and ok for the foundation I'll go that way.

Any ideas for replacements just in case would be greatly appreciated. I have a bur oak taking up most of one side of my yard and a Bradford pear on the other corner (for now). I'll see if I can get a pic of the whole front.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

OK, DFW area. Hopefully someone from your region will respond.

Not sure how tall you are willing to go.

If this is full sun, and you want to keep it evergreen you could consider Yaupon, I suppose. Would still require pruning. Many other hollies like Spartan, Scepter, East Palatka, Burford, Fosters, etc. A Weeping yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria var.) might be nice.

Perhaps Chindo Viburnum (pruning) or other evergreen viburnums (there are many, but not sure what's adapted to your region). Here we grow pragense, cinnamomifolium, rhytidophyllum.

Maybe Ternstroemia gymnanthera (cleyera)?

Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera)

Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora)

If shady, maybe Michelia, Camellia sasanqua, or Camellia 'Yuletide'? Not sure how well camellias like your soil.

I'm sure there are many, many more. Visit your local nursery. You'll have to do some research on what you like best and the height it can go, also on the amount of maintenance you want to put forth.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Thought of two more:

Carolina Cherry Laurel 'Bright n Tight' or similar compact variety

Laurus nobilis - the culinary bay

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Here's an updated picture of my magnolias (one on each side) almost two years from my last post here. I decided to keep them then, but I'm back on the fence now. They are about 3' from the house and were planted 16 years ago. When the Bur Oak on the right leaves out it gets really crowded on that side and you can barely even see the magnolia.

Having some foundation shifting that's making me lean this way too. I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance that they should be cut down before I do the deed.

    Bookmark   on Monday at 7:36PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

anytyhing that does NOT please you ... should be released from its earthly bounds ...

crikey man.. you are fixating.. worrying.. for two years now.. about an inanimate object ...

be done with it .. plant your own mistakes ...


    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 7:51AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

They look great, but do seem a bit too close to the house. Southern Mags have tons of surface roots, and with them being fully leafed out all year long, I am sure you could get moss/mold growing on the house that's being shaded. Take down that pear while you're at it ;)

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 9:21PM
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