Arbutus: Transplanting Arbutus seedlings

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by msuerowan, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. msuerowan

    msuerowan Member

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    West Vancouver
    Years after losing our big arbutus tree we now have perhaps a dozen new seedlings popping up in rather 'unfortunate' locations. Am wondering if anyone has suggestions on how best to try and transplant them.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    One method that has been suggested is snipping the leaves off (while leaving all the stems intact), pulling up bare-rooted and potting, placing in a humid greenhouse or frame to form new leaves and roots. This is done in February, when the soil is pretty much the most damp it will be all year, the plants will slip out of it more easily.

    However, any that are tiny can probably be lifted - carefully - with intact root-balls and re-planted where desired.
     
  3. Eric Odle

    Eric Odle Member

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    I had some temporary success transplanting seedlings that were about the size of my hand. My understanding and experience is that they are VERY sensitive to root disturbance, so I made sure to take about 2 gallons of soil from around each seedling and immediately and carefully transplanted them to their new location. I did this with 6 trees, and all but one died within one year.

    The last one was actually thriving until one day late last spring when I foolishly watered the 3 foot tree during the mid-day sun. It wilted immediately and was dead within a month. Interestingly, at the same time I also watered several cultivated arbutus menziesii trees and they were unharmed.

    The lesson is that these trees are very difficult to transplant from their volunteer locations, and that the survival rate is much higher for the cultivated varieties, which can be found at various native plant nurseries. I hope you succeed where I failed, but your odds are not good.

    -Eric
     

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