Arbutus decline or normal tree cycle?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by arbutustree, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. arbutustree

    arbutustree New Member

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    I am a new homeowner who has an arbutus menziesii in my back yard. It's about 12.5 meters tall. About 70% of its leaves are now curled and brown. There is new green growth at the crown of the tree. I live in a rural area, so I'm not certain if this is related to the urban stress and arbutus decline I've read about. The tree is surrounded by healthy huge conifers and is just outside the very edge of my septic field. I neither water or fertilize the arbutus, since I read it likes neglect. I don't see evidence of any fungal leaf spots. I love arbutus trees and would hate to lose this one. Can anyone advise me as to if this leaf browning is normal and/or provide me with any additional information? TIA.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The pathenogenic winter browning and curling seems to be becoming a general problem in the Puget Sound area, making the tree pretty much worthless as an ornamental - not that it ever really lent itself to being grown and planted intentionally, with mortality in nurseries being high.
     
  3. arbutustree

    arbutustree New Member

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    Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. I came across Marianne Elliott's analysis on the web (http://soilslab.cfr.washington.edu/madrone/ch07_el.pdf), and it helped me to understand what might be going on. I live near the ocean, so I don't think my arbutus was originally a nursery specimen, but I can see why it would be inadvisable to offer one in a contemporary nursery setting.
     

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