Arbutus: Arbutus in PEI

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

  1. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I wonder how many are being cut down in the new Foothills development in Lantzville. I hear the dynamite charges when the rock is being blasted. There's an area up there where almost nothing else grew aside from Madrone - Arbutus menziesii.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  2. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Talk to your local government, maybe there will be a moratorium if this devastation continues....
     
  3. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - June 2007

    Group,

    Thanks to Growest from Surrey who kindly mailed me, yes mailed, two arbutus seedlings. He packed them in moss and sent them express, they arrived in about 4 days.

    They are now on my patio awaiting my decision on where to plant them. Certainly they will be much closer to the house (to shelter it from the winds) or I may plant one and keep one in a pot to let it grow a few years or maybe pot them both for the next few years.

    Hopefully you can see the two pictures attached. BC arbutus catching some Island rays.

    My thanks to Growest for his help in getting them here.

    Michael
     

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  4. WesternWilson

    WesternWilson Active Member 10 Years

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    Wow! That was really kind of Growest.

    And I am very glad CB will be succeeded (no pun intended) by two little brothers.

    Keep us posted on their progress.
     
  5. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Good to see you have the tenacity to try again. Here's a volunteer Arbutus menziesii that is 2 years old growing next to Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. debeuzevillei. Should make a nice companion tree as habit is similar. Some visiting Aussies have mistaken them for gum trees. These are very easy to grow here and spring up like weeds.

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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  6. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Re: Arbutus in PEI - June 2007

    My concern is the prevailant winds PEI is famous for...especially during the winter...
     
  7. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    No doubt they're well out of their growing range in PEI.
    Here's another self starter growing next to an old established Madrone. It's about 5 feet tall. Notice the trunk color on the mature tree to the right (second pic shows the detail).

    Cheers, LPN.
     

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  8. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - 20 June 2007

    K Baron, you are right, I thought I had planted CB in a good spot but he was right in a Northeast wind tunnel in the winter. I have told Growest that I will over winter them in 12" pots to which I have transplanted them (original soil and roots intact). Then if they grow this year and next I will plant one and keep the other in the pot. When I plant one it will be in the most sheltered spot I have right up to my house, not far from where they are sitting on the patio in the earlier pictures. It is south facing, very warm and it is where flowers begin to grow early in the spring.

    I will keep trying. Also, if anyone has any samplings they would be willing to pack and mail to me I will gladly pay handling and postage. For Growest I sent him a money order for the postage and it arrived a few days after I mailed it. Have 2 want more.

    Thanks, Michael
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Can't remember if it's been mentioned (didn't re-read through the entire long thread to check!), have you got any other Ericaceae species growing well in the garden?
     
  10. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - 16 July 2007

    Group

    Attached are a pictures of my new arbutus trees. While the leaves are turning brown the new buds are coming out so they must be rooting.

    Michael
     

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  11. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Looking good, but my concern is drainage.... will the Arbutus be allowed to semi-dry out during the winter months? ie: I also fear that any wet roots that freeze will also affect your seedlings this coming winter....
     
  12. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    K Baron

    They will be brought inside, in the pots, for the next few winters. I will put them by my patio door (south facing, lots of sun) and while they seem to go dormant over the winter, in late March or early April new buds will start to grow as it gets warmer outside and they get more sunlight.

    When I try again to leave them out for a winter they will be planted, actually in an area near the house just behind where they are sitting on the patio. But I want them bigger first.

    Michael
     
  13. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Michael, humidity is also a factor when keeping Arbutus indoors..... a porch would work,especially if temps. don't drop below, say -1c?
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I wouldn't call all that browning "good", looks like same foliage disease afflicting many here - maybe they were infested before being collected but looked presentable at the time. Probably should be making fungicidal applications. First have to figure out what problem is, then what is recommended to do about it. Should be able to get an idea from web searches, if not maybe a university library with pertinent information is available to you.
     
  15. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Michael, it is good to see some new growth. I have to agree with Ron, tho...the leaf spots are a common problem here that may be more of a challenge in your summers over there.

    I wonder if keeping the tops dry would help a lot...(this strategy is used successfully by an apple propagator in the Fraser Valley, who totally avoids fungicidal sprays by growing all his trees under elevated poly covers). Since these arbutus are in pots, could they be situated to avoid any rain, and watered by hand avoiding the foliage?

    Your warm humid summers are quite unlike what the arbutus are adapted to here. Even with the hottest July day in history here last week, the arbutus I looked at seemed unfazed...but the humidity was probably at Saharan levels.

    I've never tried fungicides here, but something to knock that black spot back would have to help your babies. Not sure what is best, info is probably out there somewhere since this arbutus disease is a common topic of discussion. Just one more thought, the root systems should be colonized by arbutoid mycorrhizae (I took some pains to try to assure this, but obviously also inoculated the plants with our local pathogens, sigh), and I would try not to drench the potting mix with a fungicide in the process of spraying as these trees are dependent on this symbiotic deal.
     
  16. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - 28 July 2007

    Group;

    Well is good and bad news. The good news is that both plants new bud opened and I got new leaves, great, the bad news is last Sunday one plant within a few hours on Sunday morning went into a state of wilting.

    I have no idea why, they are the same location, get the same watering, but while one is going great the other looks like it has died. It is the double topped plant (see pictures above). I checked them around 830 am and they were fine, was back out around 10 am one was wilting. I watered both thinking maybe it had gotten dry, but it continued downhill. The leaves are dry and dessicated as if they had been through a prolonged freezing and are completely dried out.

    I have now cut off the tops of the wilted plant hoping I may save the roots, but that is where I think the problem is. Again, it was within days of the plant bud opening and the new leaves appearing.

    Any idea what might have happened? I admit I was pretty shocked seeing this happen.
    31 July 2007 - I added 2 photographs, one tree is fine, the other simply died.

    Michael
     

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2007
  17. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm not sure what would cause such a rapid death. Hope the other one is still doing well?
     
  18. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Daniel
    Yes the other one is doing fine. A plant of some sort is growing at the other pot from about the base of the Arbutus. It has green broadleef like leaves but they do not look like an arbutus, due to leaf shape and the speed at which it is growing. It seems to be spreading out like a bush. The stem is red in colour and the grow outward from the stem in a cloverleaf like pattern. I will post a picture shortly and perhaps you can identify it.
    Thanks, Michael

    Daniel, 2 pictures added of the unknown plant. In first you can see the stem of the arbutus where I clipped it off.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 24, 2007
  19. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  20. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Arbutus in PEI - 25 August 2007

    Michael F

    Thank you for that information I will look up this plant online to find out more about it.

    Michael on PEI
     
  21. Urban Legend

    Urban Legend Member

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    Michael, you're a man after my own heart. Keep trying-- this plant have a thousand secrets to tell. Even if old man Winter shall prove to be too much,all is not lost. I've been testing the plant indoors and I am finding that its photo-synthesis capability is very efficient. Positioned by a north facing window, not seeing sunlight for a year, the specimen did not experienced any ill effect other than not achieving the rapid growth of the ones outdoors. Perfect bonsai behavior. I've got a couple of thousand 4" to 24" saplings in my backyard at the moment. Looking at your plants, the healthy one exhibits a potential problem that could make it go the path that you described with the other. A sustained high humidity condition( rain, fog, dew) could start a pathogen growth on the browned portion of the lower leaves. It'll quickly establish a connection between the dead and live tissue and a black streak will work its way along the leaf stem towards the main stalk and girdle it. The moisture path is now blocked and the tops ups and keels over. There's no saving the bottom either. Remedy - keep a keen eye on those leaves hoping the plant truncates its connection to the stem before anything happens. If you detect a faster than usual advance of the dead tissue. cut off the leaf as close as possible to the stem so the stub dries out quickly and falls off.
     
  22. Michael Zinck

    Michael Zinck Active Member

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    Urban,

    Thanks for the information and tips. This winter I will bring the arbutus inside and place in my front bay window. It'll get light but not sun, then in April I'll start putting it on the deck during sunny days and I expect it'll start to grow again in mid-late April.

    As for the pathogen we did have a very wet humid summer, much more rain then usual so I will keep an eye out for this problem. It went as you described, the tops up and died and that was it for the whole tree.

    I can say since the picture was taken it has added about 1/2 inch of green stem growth, and a couple of small buds have formed at the top of the main stem beside the main bud. So far so good.

    Thanks, Michael
     
  23. Urban Legend

    Urban Legend Member

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    Michael,
    If you can give it sun indoors, all the better. You already know about not keeping it with wet feet but never let it get too dry either. That condition could have been the reason the other one seccumbed too. The young trees are poor water storage vessels and do not,like cactus, have water conservation measures. It'll burn moisture at full throttle in the hot summer sun and when empty will cause the jelly-like root tips to collapse. Unlike other plants, offering water at this stage is mostly futile. UL.
     
  24. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Michael and all--sigh! Living on the west coast keeps one ignorant of what other climates are like. As has been already pondered, the arbutus is challenged back east not only by cold winters, but now we must admit the humid summers may be just as much a problem!

    Looking at our trees here, the leaves get some spotting but that's all. During the summers, the hot weather is also dry, keeping many fungal problems somewhat checked.

    All I can suggest is to try to keep the tree quite dry thru the hot weather (as Urban mentions, not totally dry tho)...this is the norm in our "mediterranean" style climate.

    I'm so sorry for the loss, Michael...you have definitely chosen a challenging species. Not dead easy here but even trickier in your more continental climate.

    Would you like a list of plants that you can grow and don't do well over here :-)
     
  25. Urban Legend

    Urban Legend Member

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    Michael,
    Regarding the 'engineered' soil, I suppose it could be called 'soil fo dummies' --- throw a bucket of water on it every day and it will never be too dry nor too wet; the nutrient will not be leached away and, important for arbutus, every drop of free water between the aggregates is wicked away. It was designed for deep earth penetration to mimic the conditions in the cracks in the rocks where arbutus grows. Not really necessary for potting, unless the best time you can allot a plant is the couple of seconds to empty a jar of water over it. And it's 100% organic.
    You have this strange fixation that the tree is going to grow ( outdoors) despite all the advice to the contrary. Bucking the truth or urban legend? My experience is that once frozen the tree dies of dehydration of the foilage and stems if prolonged even at -5C. I can see a way this can be mitigated and a sizeable specimen grown albeit exhibiting terribly unusual form. But unusual is what this tree is all about. The tree is infinitely sculpturable --- have its red trunk snake through the grass and the sleeping maiden can thus be managed through the winter to await spring's kiss. UL
     

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