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A Guide to Growing a Jane Magnolia Tree

If you love the magnolia tree family but want something a bit more compact and garden-friendly, then the Jane magnolia might be just the right species for you! This tree is the result of crossing the star magnolia with the Mulan magnolia, and the outcome is a magnificent blend of condensed size and breathtaking purple and/or pink flowers. If you are interested in adding a showy, versatile, yet easy-to-care-for magnolia tree, then keep reading to learn the basics on planting and caring for your own Jane magnolia.

Providing the Right Environment

Whether you are an experienced gardener or a novice to the hobby, you can’t successfully grow a tree in an environment that is simply unsuitable unless you take precautions that allow you to mimic the environment that this tree would naturally thrive in. So the question for anyone interested in growing the Jane magnolia is this: Can your garden provide the right environment for this species of tree? As a general guide, this species is said to be acceptable to grow in USDA zones 5a to 7; however if the right care is given during the winter season, this tree may sometimes be successfully grown in USDA zone 4. This species doesn’t handle frost or excessive heat/dryness well, so if either of these are traits that are commonly experienced in your area then this is probably not the right species of tree for you. If you are unsure what USDA zone your area falls into then simply do a quick Internet search to find your answer.

Choosing a Location

When you scan your yard for the perfect location for your Jane magnolia, you can’t simply ask yourself where the tree would “look” best—there are many factors that you have to consider. The first is space. While the Jane magnolia is compact for a magnolia species, it can still grow as tall as 15 feet with a spread around eight to ten feet. This doesn’t sound very large, but it can often seem overbearing in smaller communities such as compact subdivisions. Make sure that your garden can accommodate this tree’s size.

The next thing to consider is sunlight. A is traditional with most magnolia species, the ‘Jane’ variety does best with more sunlight. This is definitely not a type of tree that will thrive in shady areas, such as under the umbrella of much larger trees. The ideal location should receive between six to eight hours of sunlight each day. If you are considering a spot that is exposed to full afternoon sun—the harshest time of day when the sunlight is most intense—then your tree will probably do well with a bit of partial shade in the morning or evening hours.

Planting the Tree

This may all seem a little overwhelming if you’re new to the gardening scene, but once you are sure that you can provide a good environment for the tree, the rest is actually quite simple! To start off, the Jane magnolia species isn’t very picky when it comes to soil type, so whether you have sandy, rich, acidic, moist, or even clay soil in your yard, this type of magnolia should be able to hack it. If you’re concerned about getting your tree off to a good start, especially if you have particularly poor-quality soil in your yard, then you can always top-up the nutrient content by adding a fertilizer after planting the tree and in the first growth season (which is early spring for this species).

Once you have your young magnolia tree ready to plant, you will need to prepare the planting site. Start by removing grass and other debris from the area. This is a task made easy by the use of a shovel where you can simply scoop up the topmost layer of soil—grass and all—and then dig the hole. Now, the size of the hole is pretty important because if you create a hole that is too large then the general area can become less stable meaning that your tree won’t have as much support. The soil will be loose once you’ve planted the tree and the larger the hole is, the higher risk there is of the tree uprooting on a windy day or after being nudged by a curious animal. The overall size of the hole should be no more than twice the size of the tree’s roots.

Backfill the hole with a bit of soil (that has been mixed with compost, if you have decided to go that route); and then place the tree roots-first into the hole until they are resting on top of the fresh soil. The top of the ground should be about an inch above the area where the roots begin. Fill in the hole with the rest of the soil and be sure to pack it in firmly so that your tree has a lot of support to keep it upright. Water the area well and pack wood chips or mulch on top of the soil mound surrounding the tree trunk.

To ensure that your Jane magnolia tree gets the best start after being transplanted into the ground, water the soil about once a week for the first month, except for weeks when there has already been a significant amount of rainfall. After this time you can simply test the soil with your fingertips. If it feels dry an inch down into the soil then you should water the area deeply. If you plan to prune the tree then get this taken care of in the first year, preferably in the early spring before real growth starts to occur, as any damages made to the branches or trunk after the first year will be unlikely to heal.



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