Camelia Stump

Asked January 10, 2021, 2:56 AM EST

I have a young magnolia tree (4') to plant in my front yard. How close to a newly cut Camelia stump is too close? Thank you!

Multnomah County Oregon

11 Responses

I am wondering why the camellia was cut down. Please fill me in on the following details:

- Was it diseased; if yes, what was the diagnosis?
- Or did it die; if so, what was the reason?

Another thing to consider is the planting site. Camellias thrive in lightly shaded areas whereas magnolias do best in bright sun.

Hello! The Camellia is still alive and (seemingly) well, a 9' x 7' behemoth. The yard is small and in it's current form it will block all the light for baby tree. I've read that trees should be planted 6-8 feet away from a stump at a min but that would put it too close to a utility line.

Thank you for your prompt response.

I assume you realize a magnolia will be much larger, in both height and diameter, than the camellia is now.

Have you considered having the camellia trimmed into a tree-like form?
To accomplish that would require phasing in the pruning over several years but, in the end, you'll have a sizeable flowering specimen in the landscape.

Oh yes! Although I don't look forward to cutting down ANY plants, we desperately need the shade from a large tree. The plan is to cut down the Camellia (solace: there are two more in the backyard), to allow sunshine to get to the baby tree. In it's current form it blocks out nearly all the available sunshine in the space we have to plant it.

We also need to consider which magnolia you have so that we can research the space it will need. With a tree, the primary concern is the distance from the house or other structure to plant it. Because the camellia is healthy, the distance from its stump is less important.

'Baby' trees are always so cute and innocent looking, but they grow (!), sometimes into huge specimens far larger than the owner's expectations.

Please send the name of the magnolia so that I can research the best planting site for it in the landscape.

Hi Jean! I attached an image of the front yard to help, and I also want to thank you for all your time with this question.

Before we an go any further, please send the name of the magnolia which is on the white tag attached to the tree.

I'm sorry, Jean! I thought I had already responded with the name. It's an Edith Bogue.

'Edith Bogue' grows to a height of 30-35 feet, with a diameter of 15-20 feet.

Considering that you live in the northwest, where trees and other plants tend to excel in size and vigor, figure that the tree should be planted 12-15 feet away from the house or other structure.

Here's a brief description of this magnolia by the City of Portland -

Do you think that will work with your site?

And here's some info about planting a tree: "New Tree Planting" -

A few critical tips:
- Dig the hole the same depth as the root ball and at least twice the width; wider is better.
- don't add anything to the hole: No fertilizer; No compost; No "good" soil.
- Refill the hole with the native soil, only.
- If you want the benefit of compost, add a 2-inch thickness to the soil surface, outward to the branch tips.

By the way, be certain to remove the stake the tree is now tied to.

Thank you so much for the information Jean! After reading through it all (and watching a video with a caterpillar-obsessed entomologist), I'm wondering if I should instead look into pruning the camellia into a tree as you suggested, and find a smaller, native tree to provide the shade. I am sure I can find a neighbor interested in providing the space the Magnolia really needs.

Thank you again for all your help!


Yes, I thinks that's a grand idea.

Have you ever visited Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden? They have very large old rhodies which have been pruned to form a delightful tree-like canopy above the pathway. You could do something similar with your camellia. The process is likely to require several years, but what else do you have to do during the pandemic?