The Q&A Archives: Planting Magnolia Tree

Question: I just purchased one of your Alaxander magnolia trees at Capitol Nursery in Sacramento. The tree is approximately 4-5 feet. My question is can Ii plant this close to my house or will Ii be looking for root damage in years to come. I understand it requires full sun and my house has a southern facade. I have a location that is about 3 feet from the front of the house. Please advise.

Answer: If allowed to grow naturally, your Alexander magnolia can reach 25' in height and spread. This magnolia can be pruned and trained as a shrub, however, and you can keep it about half the the normal size with periodic pruning. The site you describe won't allow your magnolia to develop properly - you'll need to radically prune it to keep it from overtaking your house, and that much pruning is sure to reduce its ability to produce flowers. Three feet from any building is just too close. Try to find another site, 10-15' away from your house. This will provide you with an attractive shrub that will bloom reliably year after year.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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