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

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Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Will magnolia roots damage foundation?
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

We have a Magnolia tree planted in a 5 foot square with foundation on three sides and a side walk on the front. These are all over our block placed by the builder. Will this tree work in this area or could it effect the foundation? The area will get morning and noon sun but no afternoon sun.

ANSWER:

Because magnolia roots are large and close to the surface they give the impression that they will cause damage to foundations, sidewalks and other features of your hardscape. In fact, this is rarely the case. Magnolia roots are relatively soft and fleshy compared to other trees. See this study that compares Magnolia hardscape damage to other common trees.


Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia virginiana

 

 

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