The Q&A Archives: espalier for Little Gem magnolia

Question: I have just purchased a Little Gem Magnolia espalier from HD in Nashville. How close to the house can this be planted and will the roots damage the foundation?

Answer: As long as you plan to espalier your little gem and keep the size controlled, it can be planted within 4-5' of your foundation. You'll need that amount of space between the plant and your house to 1) provide good air circulation all around to keep your little gem healthy and 2) to give you ample room to walk behind the plant for routine maintenance of your home (painting, etc.). Just to make sure the roots don't damage the foundation - which is a remote possibility considering their usual behavior is, if they run into something like cement, they'll simply turn and head in a different direction. Just to make sure - every 3-4 years you can use your shovel to dig straight down between the plant and the house. This will sever any roots heading in the direction of your foundation.

Best wishes with your new espalier!

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