Ask a Question forum: Did our landscaper make a mistake ??

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New York
Disneymom2319
Sep 15, 2019 6:16 PM CST
We live in NYC our daughter is getting married in November so we had all our landscaping pulled out and replaced . Our landscaper put a Magnolia in the dead center of our landscaping right in front of our window. He says to keep trimming it as it gets the the windows height and it will stay small . Is this going to be a huge tree one day or can week keep trimming it ?
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
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Gina1960
Sep 15, 2019 6:38 PM CST
Hmmmm, well, I do not know how they grow in New York's climate because I don't live there. But no one I know of here would ever place a magnolia that close to a house.
They eventually get over 100 feet tall and can weigh a few tons. And they drop leaves a few times a year that are a total huge mess to clean up. They are thick and do not decompose readily and have to be raked because they do not want to 'blow' with a leaf blower either. Their roots will also undermine a foundation. They can also develop weak spots in the trunk that appear as 'clefts' or almost like holes. Perhaps again not in New York, but here in FL, that is a real danger to have a tree with a trunk weakening defect close to the house.

We removed 6 huge magnolias from around our house when we bought it. They had to bring in a crane and lift the pieces over the house. But it was really, really worth it.

If you want a magnolia in your landscape, I myself would move it out further into the yard.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Sep 15, 2019 6:55 PM CST
What kind of Magnolia?
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Sep 15, 2019 7:01 PM CST
It looks nice at the moment. Perhaps you can wait to move it until after the wedding.
Porkpal
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ctcarol
Sep 15, 2019 7:16 PM CST
I agree that it's too close to the house...as any tree would be. I think porkpal has the right idea. Wait till after the wedding, then move it away from the house.
New York
Disneymom2319
Sep 15, 2019 7:39 PM CST
So after someone asked here what kind of magnolia it was I found out it is a liliflora he says it will not grow larger then 10 feet if I let it grow that big and that it can be trimmed to stay at the smaller size .
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Frillylily
Sep 15, 2019 8:00 PM CST
[Last edited by Frillylily - Apr 9, 2020 10:17 AM (+)]
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New York
Disneymom2319
Sep 15, 2019 8:03 PM CST
This is a close up of the magnolia ... he says it's liliflora and doesn't get larger then 10 feet .
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Sep 15, 2019 9:48 PM CST
Those aren't Liliflora leaves. Liliflora is deciduous. That tree is evergreen.
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Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
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kniphofia
Sep 15, 2019 10:26 PM CST
Magnolias are magnificent shrubs but can get tree size.

Whatever variety it is why keep pruning it? Move it further from the house and you will enjoy it so much more.

What are the trees they've planted at the end of the bed? I would move those as well.
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BigBill
Sep 16, 2019 2:47 AM CST
I think that we all jumped the gun here! If they hired a reputable landscaper, I would assume that they know what they are doing. Why are we all questioning that? I would give them some credit.

Instead of offering opinions from afar, why not just leave things alone for a few years? Let everything grow and fill in a bit. Look at this bed 3 years from now, 5 years from now. Things have a habit of working themselves out.
I don't think that anyone of us can predict what will happen at this point. If you can't trust a local professional landscaper then why bother hiring one in the first place??? Once you "improve and correct " everything that they did, that might prove to worse in the long run.
Either you have confidence in the guy or not. I say be cautious, live with it for a few years. Nothing can not ever be changed!
[Last edited by BigBill - Sep 16, 2019 2:49 AM (+)]
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Name: Andrea Reagan
Astatula, Florida (Zone 9a)
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Kevalsha
Sep 16, 2019 4:16 AM CST
Magnolias are trees and should not be planted too close to the house or building. Ideally enough space should be left between the house and the landscape so that the bushes do not touch the walls.
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Name: Gina
Florida (Zone 9a)
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Gina1960
Sep 16, 2019 5:46 AM CST
I don;t know how fast they grow in the more Northerly climes but here they grow pretty much at lightning speed. If you leave it, don;t let it get ahead of you. Its a lot less expensive to move it earlier before it gains a lot of height and weight than to to have to move it later after it has. And having to remove a tree so close to the house is always a danger to the house, even if you have a stellar tree service. Accidents do happen, happened to us once. No damage to the house until the tree service accidentally dropped about 2000 pounds of tree onto it
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[Last edited by Gina1960 - Sep 16, 2019 5:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Sep 16, 2019 6:23 AM CST
Hey Bill, Smiling I'm also questioning it because plenty of companies know how to put plants in the ground but don't really know their plants. Smiling OR whoever designed the bed forgot or did not know there was a window there.

That clearly looks like a type of evergreen Southern Magnolia. Let me tell you, I planted a 'Little Gem' (supposedly small) southern magnolia 25 years ago, and it is at least 25 feet tall now and hangs over my sidewalk and is a bad choice for my front yard.

Keep that until after the wedding. Move or remove it then. Southern Magnolia is a gorgeous but big type of tree, best way away from the house as an accent and where it can keep all its branches down to the ground for a natural rounded pyramidal shape.
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Besides the actual tree choice, I cannot stand things planted smack in front of the window. Do you want your view blocked? And there is no need to set yourself up for constant pruning.

Everything else looks good, on the right end of our view is a Crepe Myrtle and I think its fine- depending on variety. Around here, the most common recently planted ones I see are white ones that are very spreading, and red ones that are quite upright. You want upright, .. and there are many cultivars of Crepe myrtle. Is there a tag? Or a name on a receipt, to tell you what that one is?
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Sep 16, 2019 8:13 AM CST
Magnolia roots are notorious for causing foundation issues here. Move it after the wedding.
Porkpal
New York
Disneymom2319
Sep 16, 2019 9:03 AM CST
Thanks everyone I am going to leave it for now and see what kind of flowers bloom . It's suppose to be a dwarf and I have confidence that the landscaper is truthful. If it becomes too much with the pruning we will most certainly move it .
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Frillylily
Sep 16, 2019 9:33 AM CST

[Last edited by Frillylily - Apr 9, 2020 10:17 AM (+)]
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Sep 16, 2019 9:40 AM CST
certainly the landscaper should be able to tell you which it is. I was judging by the current 'christmas tree' shape that it would grow tall. Here is my badly mis sited 25 year old Little Gem planted 15 feet in front of a picture window
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Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Sep 16, 2019 9:41 AM CST
Hers might be okay. I lived in the NY metro area for 58 years. She is either 6B or 7 in terms of a zone. Winter lows dip below zero very rarely now. It was a bit colder there when I was a kid in the 50's and 60's.

Another good point I feel is that she probably has some type of guarantee from the landscaper for the plant material, probably one year. If she goes and moves that stuff she is giving the landscapers a perfect reason to declare that guarantee null and void! To me that is important!
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Calif_Sue
Sep 16, 2019 9:44 AM CST

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Personally I don't care for the tree planted dead center in front of a window, it would have been better planted to one side (although further away from the house) and the other plants placed it groups of 3 or 5 rather than lined up matchy matchy (my technical term 😋) But as I said, that's my personal preference. Your planting beds are nice, clean and fresh, perfect for the wedding.
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