Away from home

Away from home

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Question: distance from home

At the Lido of Venice I have a small garden of approx. 200 and I would like to plant a magnolia. I know it would be better to place the tree at a certain distance from the house to prevent the roots from ruining the house itself over the years. How far would it be to plant a magnolia?

Answer: distance from home

Dear Vittorio,
the term magnolia indicates a genus of trees, small trees and small shrubs, which have different growth and development depending on the species; in general however the species cultivated in Italy in the gardens are not particularly destructive, and above all they do not have an excessive development: their root system is quite superficial, and it can happen over the years that they arrive to lift the paving of any little pathways distant from the trunk, but can hardly create problems for the foundations of a house. More than anything, generally magnolias also develop a large crown, so it is advisable to leave them enough space so that they can widen in width without encountering obstacles, which would cause the formation of a crooked tree or with the foliage moving away from the house and towards sunlight. If you intend to plant a magnolia stellata or a magnolia soulangeana, or those with cup-shaped flowers with fringed white petals, or with tulip-shaped flowers usually rosy (deciduous and with spring flowering), consider that they are saplings, that hardly exceed 5-6 meters in height, with a crown that can reach 4-5 meters in diameter, although there are varieties that tend to remain quite small or shrub-like; this type of magnolia should be kept at least 3-4 meters from the house, so that the foliage can grow over the years at will. Another magnolia widely cultivated in Italy is the magnolia grandiflora, of North American origin, with evergreen leaves, large and leathery, and spring or summer white flowers; these plants have a typical fastigiata shape, that is they do not form a tree with a bare stem that at the apex brings a wide roundish crown, rather they produce a squat and short stem, and an elongated, flame-shaped crown; therefore, even if these trees, with the passing of the decades, can become even 15-20 meters high (in Italian private gardens I have seen very old specimens that usually do not exceed 10-15 meters), their foliage does not exceed 4 -6 meters in diameter, at the base, and narrows towards the top; these trees should be planted about 5-6 meters from the house, so that they have the chance to develop well, and that they can have so much sunlight, without the house going to shade them for so many hours a day. However, there are about 200 species of magnolia, and as far as I consider unlikely you want to put a virginian magnolia, for example, consider that tomorrow it will become a huge tree, the only one I saw in Italy is in the park of the villa Taranto, on Lake Maggiore, is a monumental tree.


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