The Q&A Archives: Planting flowers/hostas under Magnolia trees

Question: Is it feasible to plant hostas around my Magnolia tree? We put tree rings around our pin oak, pine tree and Magnolia. We filled them with dirt and planted hostas around the oak and pine but the landscapers advised us not to plant around the magnolia as it would kill it. Do you know if this is true? We are in Nebraska. Thank you.

Answer: Your landscapers are correct about planting beneath a magnolia. Magnolia trees have shallow roots and lots of surface roots; digging around beneath the tree can damage roots which can be entrance points for disease pathogens. And, the extra water the new plants would require could also compromise the roots of your magnolia. I'd leave the magnolia alone. Wish I had better news for you!

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