En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 11, 2007

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplanting Magnolia grandiflora
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We just moved to Plano TX and there's a magnolia tree planted between our house and the driveway. (The tree is 7ft tall and it's about 7ft from the side of house and 4ft from the driveway) I always thought Magnolias got to be a pretty good size. Is that location okay for it? Do you think it would stand a chance if we transplanted it elsewhere or are we better off just getting rid of it?

ANSWER:

You did not mention the type of magnolia you have, but since it is in Plano, TX, I'm guessing it is the Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora. I'll go a little further out on a limb, and guess it's the cultivar "Little Gem", which has been developed as a compact, upright version of M. grandiflora, more suitable to the smaller lots in urban residential areas. The leaves on a Little Gem are small, about 4" long, narrow, dark green with a bronze reverse. They bloom at an early age and sporadically during Summer. All that having been said, it still would appear your tree is not in a good location. Magnolias grow at a rate of about one to two feet yearly, and once they've been planted, they don't like to be disturbed. Their roots spread wider than most trees, and for that reason transplanting is difficult, as it is necessary to trim the roots quite a bit to made the move manageable, and a lot of root system is lost. If the tree is left where it is, you can expect it to be about 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. This is going to get it too close to your house, but an even greater problem is going to be the roots and the driveway. At four feet from the driveway, those roots are probably already under the driveway, and that's not good for either the tree or the drive.

Magnolias are magnificent trees; traditionally, the classic picture of them was of a corridor of trees leading up to a Southern mansion. Unfortunately, very few people live that way now, but the magnolia remains a tree that should be planted out in a fairly wide area, away from structures. Your tree might very well be all right where it is for a few years, but it's only a matter of time until branches are going to be against the house and over the driveway, and roots are going to be reaching both underground.

All that having been said, you may well want to make the effort to save your Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia). If you have an open space large enough to accommodate it in its mature form, it would be a wonderful addition to your landscape.

For more information on transplanting trees, use this link to Michigan State University.

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

More Trees Questions

Trees blooming white in East Tennessee in April
April 07, 2010 - What kind of tree is blooming now, 4\6\10 in the mountains of east TN. They have white blooms?
view the full question and answer

Shade tree for Southern California
November 14, 2013 - I had to cut down my huge ficus tree for several reasons, however it provided lots of shade, that we miss. Can you help me find a good shade tree with non-invasive roots that is good for growing and p...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting live oaks in summer
July 17, 2008 - I have a need to transplant a live oak tree on a home building site. The need is now, the house is almost completely built out and the owners did not prep the site by moving trees or prepping them to ...
view the full question and answer

Holly-like groundcover under live oak tree.
June 21, 2012 - I have looked and looked and cannot identify a wonderful groundcover holly growing in the shade beneath my 100 year old Live Oak here in Austin. I have looked up every possible Ilex variety and am stu...
view the full question and answer

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center