Ask a Question forum: Magnolia tree

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Name: Debbie Golubski
West Sacramento, CA (Zone 9b)
Trying to turn my black thumb green
Oct 6, 2016 3:05 PM CST
I have a magnolia tree in my front yard that has reached maturity by many years. In fact the city has classified it as a heritage tree. I love the tree but it's root system has consumed my entire front yard. The roots are so dense that you can't get anything through it. This summer I've noticed a change in color on the trunk, the pods are not blooming and the surface roots are dry and brittle. Before I do anything rash I wanted to check with the experts for possible reasons and solutions. I leave in Sacramento, CA. Our city has been on water conservation for many years. The City would like me to pay to have the tree removed but I would love to save her for many generations to come. Please help!
knowledge is power!
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Oct 7, 2016 7:27 AM CST
Are you raking the leaves?
If you've been trying to garden under this tree.... Stop... Get some mulch over those poor roots!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Oct 7, 2016 9:54 AM CST
I agree with Stone.

Magnolias have a very shallow rooting system - most of the roots are inches from the surface. They also require an acidic soil. Buy some redwood bark mulch - the winter rain will leach some of the acids from the redwood bark into the soil. Also, what are your neighbors doing? The trees roots could be in their yard also (I don't know how big your front yard is) and they could be doing something to make the tree unhappy. But it sounds like what you need mostly is mulch.

A really big tree needs its space and will not share with other plants. You have to decide if you want the tree or if you want a garden. Its your tree so of course the city won't take it down for you. If the sidewalk in front of your house cracks and lifts, you will be required to pay for replacing it also.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost


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