Arbutus: Arbutus in PEI

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by Michael Zinck, May 3, 2006.

  1. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Group,

    I have read the threads in this post but have a couple of questions. First I live in Cornwall, PEI a 5b hardiness zone.

    I have an Arbutus tree, whom a friend in Saint John NB gave to me. For 2 years it has been in its pot, put outdoors in summer and brought inside in mid-late October. It is growing new leaves, which appear around March.

    This year I put it outdoors in early April and planted it by my back fence which is south facing. The ground is loose top soil, supported by alot of what we call 'fill'. topsoil mixed with small sandstone rocks. It does drain well.

    1. When you say don't water except for extremely dry conditions, do you mean only water it once a month, or never? The soil here does dry out very quickly. Is there a transition period when it will need some water?

    2. The leaves have little spots the colour of pumpkin, some of them seem to have disappeared since I moved it to a more sunny location.

    3. I put the pot out in mid-April, after the new leaves had started to grow, but we have had some frosts since then, any idea on how they hold up to frost?

    4. I admit I most likely overwatered it. I figured it was from BC so you get a lot of rain out there, so I figured it must need lots of water. My friend also said it liked shade so I kept taking it out of the sun each summer. Then I read your site and it says the opposite. So sun its going to get. I am worried I watered it too much.

    5. I admit I have already transplanted it twice. The first time I put it next to my shed but it was in a shadow until 11:00 am or so, now about 4 feet back along my fence line it gets sun from about 800 am all through the day. You have mentioned this delicate root problem so I am wondering about 2 moves in one month.


    6. Any other suggestions to help it survive?

    Thanks, Michael
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    For any web searches you might be going to undertake try spelling Arbutus.
     
  3. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    Ron
    Thank you. It was a typo on my part.
    Michael.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    If you're trying to grow this in 5b it will need to be kept in a tub and overwintered in a cool, bright area each winter.
     
  5. sue1

    sue1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    Hi Michael. Arbutus grow in sandy rocky soil only. They don't mind coastal BC wet winters as long as the soil is quick draining. They like warm summers, preferably with little rain. In BC they only grow in the coastal regions, i.e., Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, some areas of West Vancouver, as these areas don't get much rain in the summer months.

    Hope that helps a little. I live on a Gulf Island in BC where Arbutus trees are everywhere - they pop up like weeds. They are so beautiful, so I hope you have some luck with yours.

    Sue
     
  6. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - May update

    News from PEI

    Since I planted my arbutus, named CB, in April he seems to be improving. A late April frost, along with overnights near or just below 0c, hit the new leafs as they were budding and they froze (2 leafs) which had me concerned about CB over all. However I noted at the time that there was another small bud in the tree centre. In the last 3 weeks it has started to grow and the new leaves broke out last week. I note this is exactly the same time my rhododendron burst into bloom. As both are broadleafs, the temperature may have reached the point where they would normally come produce leaves (arbutus) and flowers (rhododendron). The bottom set of leaves on CB are heavy spotted black and I expect they will drop off at a later date. Temperatures have remained above 8c overnight, daytimes highs have, on occassion, reached the low 20c, but there has been little real rainfall and the ground is quite dry.

    Michael
     
  7. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    Michael,
    If you get winter lows colder than -12 celcius (10 fahrenheit) expect trouble. These trees are exacting in their requirements and nothing less will do.
     
  8. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbustus in PEI - July 2006 update

    Hello All

    Well it has been a very wet, but warm June and early July here on the Island, but temperatures are staying above 15c. CB seemed a bit droopy for awhile and I thought maybe he was getting too much water. However given the soil is only topsoil and fill underneath so it drains quickly.

    CB, as I call him, is doing well and is sprouting his 4th set of new leaves this year. The last set were only buds on a Monday but were out by the Friday, I admit I was surprised how fast they went from bud to leaves. The stalk is also growing a bit with each new set of leaves. The lower leaves now look as if they have been sprinkled with paprika, and it was on the leaves within a few days of their opening.

    I think we will have more new leaves by the end of July. So far so good.
     
  9. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    Actually, I like Arbustus! Sounds a bit tougher, you know, and this plant grows in some pretty tough places. Usually in seams in rock faces and in poor, thin soiled slopes. How the things survive is beyond me.

    I wonder, though, if arbutus would choose to grow in rather less inhospitable spots if they could compete with what usually grows there. I suspect in a city garden situation they may quite like the less hostile environment and be able to stretch their requirements a bit.
     
  10. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    WesternWilson ... I used to live over your way and seeing an Arbutus was a rarity. I recall a specimen in the Beach Grove area (south of 16 Ave) several blocks from the beach. It was planted by the owners and it's very sandy in that part.
    Here they're very prolific from Victoria up past Parksville. There's an area near me where there's a forest of 90% Arbutus/Madrone trees. It's a very unique forest with so many Arbutus, since most forested areas are a good mix of native types.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  11. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Hello Group

    Thanks for the comments Western Wilson and LPN. Well it has only been couple of weeks but CB has shot up 4 inches. His growth is a lot like my rhododendron whose growth suddenly took off. I assume it is the period of mild wet weather followed by hot dry weather.

    I was certainly surprised when I went to look him over and saw how fast and how much the stalk had grown. By now his roots must be into the surrounding soil. So far he is doing very well.

    I'll keep you posted.
     
  12. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    You are right, they are very rare here in Tsawwassen. We live up on a bluff where the soil is an appalling clay/gravel mix that resembles cement. We had to get a mechanical digger in to rip out our front yard, which at nearly 20 years old, was giving up the ghost. The former occupants got by on a relentless diet of fertilizer/herbicide/pesticide. There wasn't a worm to be seen... Now, we have 2 ft. of thick, rich dairy compost. Sod arrives Monday...tree and shrub shopping on Wednesday!!!

    That said, there is no reason arbutus should not thrive here, as they certainly like to live in the nearby San Juan and Gulf Islands. Again, that makes me wonder if without a crumbling rock face...the only place they can hold out against competitors...you simply see trees, weeds, and salal that crowd out arbutus.

    My little baby one is doing fine in our back yard, facing the cliff, where the old cement soil still prevails. BUT he does get some TLC in the form of weeding and protection from rampaging Labradors.
     
  13. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - August 2006

    Group,

    The last 2 months have been great for CB, he has grown 11 inches (28cm) of new stem growth. The leaves at the top are in good shape but there are some black spots appearing. At the top of the old growth stage, one set of leaves have died, but another set remain.

    It has been a great growing season and I assume, given its growth, that CB's roots have gotten into the surrounding soil. So far so good.

    Michael
     
  14. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    Good to hear!

    Out of curiosity . . . does 'CB' stand for anything?
     
  15. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - the name

    Michael F

    The name "CB" are the French letters for word British Columbia (Columbia Britanique) . My friend, who gave it to me, is an Acadian who lived in Vancouver for many years before moving back to Saint John, NB.

    He was given Arbutus seeds by a friend in BC and planted them once back east. Seven trees grew, in pots, from the seeds, 6 are in NB, 5 in Saint John (actually Hammond River near Quispamsis) and 1 with his daughter near Sussex, and one (CB) is now in PEI.

    I should take a picture and post it online.

    Michael
     
  16. Chooch

    Chooch Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    I live in the warmest , mildest area east of B.C. and I can verify that arbutus will not take the cold temps we Canadians experience outside of B.C. . I germinated a few to experiment with 3 years ago and they all perished rather quickly once placed in the soil in a sheltered well drained location . Onward to the next plant expeeriment :)
     
  17. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    When we were in Beaverton, Oregon, they were common on the clay type soil of hillsides. We had them in our yard, which also had clay soil - more clay than clay loam. The trees grew up as tall as 50 feet, with trunk sizes from inches to a couple of feet in diameter.

    We now have a rocky clay, fairly well drained, and our madrones (Arbutus) are about 60 feet tall with 36" DBH trunks. The trunk flare is almost 6' wide on a couple of them. This in in Ruch, Applegate Valley or Southern Oregon, which is about 10 inches of rain dryer than Beaverton.

    All of our trees were in well drained soil or on a slope. We are really enjoying the ones that we have now. About 6 very large ones.
     
  18. sweetlemon

    sweetlemon Member

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    I'm really interested to see how your Arbutus does over the winter in PEI. Keep us updated.
     
  19. Ian

    Ian Active Member

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    A few cold hardy arbutus prospects include:
    A. menziesii collected east of Packwood, Washington where it grows at an altitude of 2,500' in the Cascade Mts.
    A. xalapensis var. texana collected in the Guadalupe Mts where temperatures may drop to about -28C
    Maybe A. arizonica collected high in the Chiricahua or Catalina Mts. of Arizona.
    The latter two would also adapt well to a climate with lots of summer water. And A. xalapensis can grow on high pH soils (it does in the wild).

    They grow on clay soil here as well... and even in areas of very high preciptiation as long as it dries out in the summer.
     
  20. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - September 2006

    Forum

    It's September 22 and temperatures are slowly dropping. We have had some light frost to date but nothing which has caused any damage to any yard plants, at least where I live, which is within site of the Charlottetown harbour. Today's high was 13c.

    CB's leaves are a deep green colour, there are some ants upon the plant which I have been told eat some of those pumpkin coloured spores that were on some leaves. I have also been adding to the mulch around CB's base.

    I also purchased a packet of Arbutus seeds from a company in BC and will be planting them indoors, to germinate, next February. So I will let you know how many actually sprout and then survive to grow next summer.

    I will indeed keep you posted on how CB manages the fall and winter.

    Michael
     
  21. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    I would be most interested in hearing how the seed germination goes. Where did you get the seeds?

    Regards,
    Janet
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2006
  22. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    Janet

    I purchased the seeds online from 'Seed Collectors, VanDusen Botanical Gardens, 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1.

    Michael
     
  23. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    Cool! They have a big rack of seeds in the gift shop there as well. Seems I must pay them a visit!

    Again, please let us know how germination goes.

    Regards,
    and hoping for many baby arbutus trees
    Janet
     
  24. jstu

    jstu Member

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    Pacific Madrone will freeze to death in PEI, it barely clings to life in the mildest of areas in BC. Not sure about Strawberry Tree. You might make it through a few mild winters as they sometimes get exposed to below freezing temps for a few days, but eventually old man winter will have them. To put in in context: I have never seen ice of any kind and Arbutus in the same spot.
     
  25. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: Arbustus in PEI

    "it barely clings to life in the mildest of areas in BC" !?
    They thrive in great numbers and look awesome where I live and I'm not in the "mildest" area of BC.

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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