Can Magnolia Trees Be Planted Close to a House?

can magnolia trees be planted close to a house

Magnolia trees are beautiful, majestic, and fragrant, but can magnolia trees be planted close to a house? This blog post answers whether it’s possible to plant magnolias close to the house.

Magnolia trees can be planted close to a house if certain steps are taken to prevent the roots from damaging the foundation of the home or causing other damage. The type of magnolia tree and its location relative to the house play large roles in determining how far away it should be planted. In some cases, pruning of the roots may be necessary to ensure that they will remain out of reach of the foundation.

Table of Contents

Selecting the right magnolia tree for your garden

When it comes to planting magnolias close to your house, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider before deciding on the type of tree and where in your garden it will be planted. 

Will magnolia tree roots damage house foundations? 

The answer is yes, and for years this has been true. You can plant a magnolia tree near to your house as long as there’s some clearance between the trunk of the tree and any foundations. A distance of 10 feet at least should do the trick. 

The question of planting Magnolia trees close to a house isn’t just an issue of space, but also timing. It’s best to plant magnolias as early in spring as possible, as plants will be most vulnerable and susceptible to damage for many months. 

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You will also want to avoid planting them during wet seasons. Other than those considerations, magnolias make excellent additions to gardens of all shapes and sizes. 

Their large leaves and blossoms give off a wonderful fragrance, adding beauty to any space. They can grow up to 20 feet tall, so keep that in mind when deciding where they’ll be planted.

Almost all types of magnolia tree will be well suited for your garden, having ample space. These are some well known names of Magnolia trees.

Saucer magnolia (Magnolia ×soulangiana)

Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)

Cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata)

Loebner magnolia (Magnolia ×loebneri)

Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

You can pick any of these types of magnolia trees for your garden. If you are worried about planting the Magnolia trees close to your house, then go with one of the Saucer or Sweetbay varieties because they have wide bases that won’t bother your foundation. 

With some common sense, proper planning and preparation, Magnolia trees planted close to a house will not pose a problem.

Selecting the right site

When you are considering planting a magnolia tree, there are many factors that should be taken into consideration. 

The magnolia tree has long been used in landscaping as an ornamental plant, but also for timber. 

However, these days it is more popular as a garden ornament than anything else because of its beauty, fragrance, and allure. 

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However, when you are thinking about whether you can plant the magnolia tree close to your house and on your property, it is important to consider the roots of the magnolia tree. The reason is they may cause damage to your house foundations if planted too close to them. 

There are other factors to consider when choosing where to plant the magnolia tree, such as how high up the trees will grow, how much light they need and how much space you have available. 

However, it is best to plant the magnolia tree at least 10 feet away from your house foundation so that the roots won’t have any negative effects on your home. 

If you do select to plant a magnolia tree closer than 10 feet away from your home, it’s essential to check with a professional first before making any decisions. 

They can make sure that your magnolia tree doesn’t pose any risks to your home by running their hands along the perimeter of the roots and checking for signs of distress. 

Once you have confirmed that it is safe to plant the magnolia tree close to your house, be sure to keep its root system healthy by watering it often. 

Watering can help keep the soil moist which prevents root decay which can lead to problems like root rot. It can damage those beautiful leaves and flowers we love so much! 

Also makes sure that the soil is well drained.

Choosing the right planting time

Planting magnolias in the spring is best because it will give them time to get established before the hot and dry summer. 

Make sure that you leave 10 inches of space between the tree and your house for safety reasons.

Planting them too close may result in damage as they get older. Plus, I recommend planting some native plants in front of them, like an azalea or crape myrtle, for extra color and shade. 

Finally, try not to plant anything over 25 feet away from the house, this will make it easier to care for both types of plants. 

That way you can enjoy the blossoms year round!

Choosing between bare root and balled & burlapped

A bare root tree can be transplanted at any time of year, as long as the ground is not frozen. 

To transplant a balled and burlapped tree, it should be done in the fall after leaves have fallen. 

Once again, just make sure you have enough room for your new magnolia tree so that it will not interfere with your house foundations or anything else around your yard. 

You may want to research whether the if magnolia trees be planted close to a house because there are some people who claim that their houses have been damaged by these trees. 

If you do plant one near your home, keep an eye on it to see if its roots start expanding towards the foundation of your house. 

If they do, contact a professional immediately. They can remove the tree and move it elsewhere. Otherwise, use mulch to protect your foundations from being eaten away.

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Planting bare root vs. balled & burlapped

Bare root plants, which are magnolias, are cheaper and can be planted year-round. 

If you’re going with this option, keep in mind that planting them too close to your house will damage your foundations. 

Balled and burlapped plants need a hole dug for each plant, but come with roots wrapped in soil. These cost more, but the roots don’t grow as far, so they won’t cause much damage. 

Make sure you do your research before purchasing these plants to make sure they’ll work well in your area. The most important thing is selecting a tree that’s suitable for where it’s being planted.  

Some trees may look good on paper, but can actually be harmful if not taken care of properly. 

You should always consider whether the particular type of tree you want to plant is compatible with the environment it will reside in. 

Maintenance technique after planting to avoid damage

One of the biggest concerns for those who want to plant a magnolia tree close to their house is that the roots will damage the foundations. 

Luckily, it is not as easy for the roots of a magnolia tree to penetrate through concrete foundation. 

A quick tip when planting your magnolia tree is choosing one with smaller root balls. 

When digging the hole for your new magnolia tree make sure you have at least 10 feet of space between the bottom of the hole and any brick or block wall on your property.  

You can also put down landscaping fabric, sphagnum moss, peat moss, or ground cover before you pour in the soil to keep weeds from growing. 

Make sure to give your magnolia tree plenty of water every day during its first few months in the ground and finally don’t forget about staking it so that it can grow straight. 

If your magnolia tree starts showing yellow leaves then this may be an indication that there is not enough water available for the tree. 

In these cases, try pruning off some branches to allow more light and access to reach into the lower portions of the branches. 

It’s important to remember that even though the roots of a magnolia tree cannot easily penetrate through the foundation, they can still do significant damage if they are allowed to grow too large. 

One way to prevent this is by using black plastic sheeting under your magnolia tree’s canopy. The sheeting will prevent rainwater from soaking into the ground, which means less food for the trees’ roots. 

As a result, the roots won’t be able to grow as deep and won’t reach the foundations. 

If you’re worried about how big your magnolia tree can get, then one option is to cut back on watering. While this might seem counterintuitive, it prevents the water from feeding the roots so that they don’t have time to grow very deep.

Maintenance tips in spring, summer, fall, winter

In the spring, summer, and fall, watering once or twice a week is sufficient. 

You can also get an irrigation system if you are having any particular problems with overwatering. 

If you see flowers blooming in the spring or magnolias in the fall, they need more water. 

If there are any dead branches on your magnolia tree during this time of year, you should remove them to help increase air circulation and eliminate rotting branches that might cause structural damage to your house foundations. 

As far as planting close to your house goes, will it damage house foundations? There is no definitive answer as it depends on where the root systems have grown, but generally speaking it is safe to plant them as long as they are at least ten feet away from any foundation walls. 

If you can’t find out whether the roots have extended beyond that distance, then you may want to contact a certified arborist for advice. 

Some say that planting two trees between 10-20 ft apart will balance the forces, but others disagree, saying one needs to be 10 feet from the other for safety reasons. 

Either way, when planting near a home, you should consult an expert.

How to pick the right soil

Make sure you choose a location that has well-drained soil and is not prone to flooding. 

The roots of magnolia trees do tend to spread deep underground and can, on occasion, damage house foundations. 

To prevent this from happening, it is important that you plant the tree in an area where it will have plenty of room for its deep root system. 

This can be done by locating your tree at least ten feet away from any wall or corner of your house and by planting the tree away from downspouts. 

Additionally, if you are worried about your foundation being damaged by the roots of the magnolia tree, it is possible to place a barrier around the base of the trunk.  By doing so, they don’t come into contact with any part of your house. 

However, most homeowners just try to plant their magnolia trees in areas far enough away from their home that no harm can come to it. 

Are they fragrant?

Magnolias are some of the most fragrant trees in the world and can perfume your yard with a sweet, floral aroma.  

To determine whether you can safely plant your magnolia tree close to your house, consider how far apart they should be planted. Generally, magnolias will do well if they’re at least 10 feet away from your house.

If you want a flower of sweet odor in your garden then after having enough precautions and much research you can plant it inside your garden. Just make sure that it is not near your home or else you might find yourself in deep trouble. Magnolias can grow anywhere between 8-12 meters tall so be mindful when planting them next to your house. 

Don’t worry though; there are plenty of other places you can put them!

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Will magnolia tree roots damage house foundations? 

Yes, if not given the proper room to grow. They will seek out anything they can as they grow and eat away at the roots of plants or trees growing near them. They will also spread over the surface with their roots, growing into cracks in sidewalks and driveways, crumbling them or pushing them up over time.

Can you plant magnolia trees close to a house? 

Yes! Just be sure there is enough space for it. The ideal space would be 3-5 meters from the house foundation. 

Can magnolia tree roots damage my house foundations? 

Sometimes, but in most cases, the root growth will stay below the frost line and your foundation won’t be damaged. 

How far away should I plant my magnolia tree from my house for fear of it falling over and damaging my home during strong winds or storms? 

It would be wiser to plant your magnolia tree at least 10 feet away from the house. For example, if you have a 10 meter wide lot, then you can put your magnolia on one side of the lot and have plenty of space on either side for other plants or trees. A beautiful idea is planting a row of magnolias on one side of the property.

How can I find more information about can magnolia trees be planted close to a house? 

Call your local nursery or garden center and talk to an expert who will know all about this topic. 

Wrapping up

The discussion of the question can magnolia trees be planted close to a house depends on what kind of magnolia tree you have and what type of house you live in. 

If you are asking if your entire yard is too small for any plants, it might not be. If you have a large yard, it might make sense to move some of your other plants closer to your house, but that’s not the case for most people. It may also depend on how much sun there is in your yard. For those who don’t know their magnolia variety, they may want to do more research before deciding whether they can plant their magnolia tree close to their home or not.

Cathryn Thompson

Hi, I am Cathryn Thompson. I am a full-time blogger. I ditched my 9-5 job many years back to explore life a bit more. In this blog, I like writing about everything that can save us from the monotony of regular life and live our life to the fullest.

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