The Q&A Archives: Roots on Magnolia 'Timeless Beauty'

Question: Hi,

I am a designer and have placed a Magnolia 'Timeless Beauty' at the base of a massive 3 tiered Country Manor wall. It is spotted about 3' from the base of this wall and the wall height at this spot is
3 1/2' above the wall foundation. the client is worried that the roots will compromise the structure of this wall. The entire wall system is about 160' in length.

What is the root stock and have I placed this tree incorrectly or are their roots as I have been told by the nursery not invasive.

I would appreciate your input.

Tricia Daley

Answer: The roots of most trees extend out about one- and one-half times the diameter of the canopy. Timeless Beauty has the potential to reach 25' in width and has an extensive root system which will extend out to the edge of the canopy. While the roots typically grow downward, Magnolia trees can have many surface roots so there's no guarantee that they won't compromise the structure of the wall. You can help it develop a deep root system by watering deeply and infrequently, but I think to be on the safe side I'd move the tree to a more open area and plant a smaller tree at the base of the wall.

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