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Are Magnolia Tree Roots Invasive? How Far Do They Grow?

Who doesn’t love the sweet and heady fragrance of the flowers of the magnolia tree? They also enhance the overall look of the garden.

That being said, you might be wondering if the roots of the magnolia tree are invasive and how long do they grow. Read on to find out everything you want to know about the magnolia tree roots.

Are magnolia tree roots invasive?

Although the roots of the magnolia tree spread quite aggressively, they are not invasive. Nonetheless, their roots grow farther and stronger than most other trees of this type. So, if you plant this tree too close to your house, its roots can damage the base and the pipes.

There are numerous species of a magnolia tree that you can plant in your garden. Not every one of them is noninvasive. Let’s find out which of the magnolia tree species is invasive.

Dwarf magnolia:

The dwarf magnolia trees grow six to eight feet in width, and eight o twelve feet in height. Their roots are naturally wide-spreading, but they won’t damage your underground pipes if planted at a proper distance from the house.

Little gem magnolia:

The little gem magnolia trees don’t grow very long or wide. However, they have fast and wide-spreading, yet non-invasive roots.

The roots of this tree grow from the stem to a diameter four times that of the umbrella. Nevertheless, its roots are not strong enough to harm the base of any building.

Teddy bear magnolia:

The Teddy bear magnolia is a compact and small tree with amazing oval-shaped leaves. Their roots can be invasive only if they are grown near a house or another tree. Otherwise, the roots of this tree won’t do any damage.

Port wine magnolia:

The roots of the Port wine magnolia are not invasive at all. They have a very shallow root system, which can even develop in paved areas.

Jane magnolia:

The Jane magnolia tree is a fairly tiny tree with non-invasive roots. Its roots won’t damage the fence, deck, patio, or home, even if planted very near to them.

Star magnolia:

The roots of the Star magnolia are not as wide-spreading as few other breeds of the magnolia tree. They have a relatively weaker and shorter root system.

Sweetbay magnolia:

The Sweetbay magnolia tree is not an ornamental plant, it can grow quite large. As a result, its root system also gets developed very fast.

However, its roots won’t harm any underground or above-ground materials if the tree is planted at a proper distance from those things.

Saucer magnolia:

The roots of the Saucer magnolia tree grow horizontally to provide stability. Its roots can grow more than the width of the tree.

That being said, the roots of the Saucer magnolia don’t grow in such a way that can damage any structure in the garden.

Royal star magnolia:

The Royal star magnolia tree is a smaller form of the Star magnolia. It contains a root system that develops slowly and non-aggressively. So, its roots are definitely not invasive.

How invasive are magnolia tree roots?

The magnolia tree roots naturally grow very fast and spread farther than the width of the tree. If there is no tree or material within the root range, it won’t impart any damage to them.

In fact, its roots are not that strong enough to destroy everything on its way. So, the roots of the magnolia are not considered as invasive.

However, if this tree is planted very close to the fence, house, or any other item that has a base, then its roots can somewhat damage them.

So, the magnolia trees should be planted at least 30 feet away from the foundation of the house to prevent any damage.

How far and deep do magnolia tree roots spread?

The roots of the magnolia tree grow horizontally rather than vertically to enhance the stability of the tree. Magnolia tree roots can grow four times the width of the tree. However, since its roots don’t spread deep into the ground, they are unlikely to cause any plumbing problems.

A magnolia tree can grow quite high in length. Its branches can also spread at a significant rate. However, the stem of the magnolia tree is not strong enough to hold the tree up during very strong wind and storms.

As a result, the roots of this tree grow sideways instead of growing deep to increase the firmness of the magnolia.

The roots of the magnolia tree can spread up to four times their total width. If the branch spread of a magnolia tree is 10 feet, its roots can spread up to 40 feet.

However, not every species of magnolia tree has the same width. The more the width of the tree, the more the roots will spread.

As a result, the roots of the magnolia tree won’t damage the sewer or plumbing system of the house. However, it can damage the foundation of the house or the fence if planted too close to them.

Do magnolia trees have deep or shallow roots?

The magnolia trees have shallow roots, which means their roots remain very close to the surface of the ground. The magnolia tree roots are shallow because they ensure that the tree remains upright during heavy wind and storm.

Since the roots of the magnolia tree are shallow, they won’t cause any damage to the foundations.

Will magnolia tree roots damage house foundations?

The roots of the magnolia tree are not considered as an invasive root system. The roots of the magnolia plant are not potentially destructive as they have shallow roots. The shallow magnolia roots remain very close to the surface.

As a result, the magnolia tree roots won’t damage strong house foundations. However, if the foundation is remarkably weak, then the roots might pierce through that.

How far away from my house should I plant a magnolia tree?

Magnolia tree roots don’t directly damage the house foundation. But, it can prevent sunlight and make the foundation damp. So, the magnolia tree should be planted at a proper distance from the house.

The roots of the magnolia tree can grow up to four times the width including the branch spread. So, you should plant the magnolia tree 30 to 50 feet away from your house to prevent any sort of damage.

How To Remove Magnolia Tree Roots?

Removing the magnolia tree roots is not as complicated as it may seem. You can do it without damaging the tree by following the proper steps.

Let’s find out how you can remove magnolia tree roots step by step.

Get the right tools:

To cut the magnolia tree without any damage, you will have to get the right tools first. You will need a measuring tape, painter’s tape, chainsaw, hacksaw, and watering can.

Mark the roots that you want to remove:

Select which part of the roots you want to cut off. Then, mark the roots you want to remove using masking tape. Make sure that you don’t choose a large group of roots for cutting off.

Measure the roots:

The roots that are 10 to 15 inches away from the magnolia tree are safe for cutting off. So, measure the length of the root that you want to cut off, and if it is above 10 inches away then it is okay to remove it.

Cut the root:

Dig a hole until the marked root is clearly visible. Once the root is visible, cut it without pulling it out using a sharp knife or a saw. Afterward, put the soil back into the hole.

Will trimming magnolia roots damage the tree?

Trimming magnolia tree roots that are 10 to 15 inches away from the tree won’t necessarily damage it. However, if you remove roots that are very close to the trunk, it might halt the water and mineral supply into the leaves.

In addition to that, the roots that are more than 2 inches wide are basically the main roots of the magnolia tree.

Those roots keep the tree stable during breeze or unwanted movements. So, unless the 2 inches roots are trimmed, it won’t cause any damage to the tree.

Final Thoughts

The magnolia tree roots grow close to the grounds’ surface. So, they are not invasive and won’t destroy any foundations. However, they can spread up to three to four times the total width of the tree. As a result, they should be planted far away from houses to prevent any minor damages.