Arbutus & Fir relationship?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by DuaneH, Oct 5, 2018.

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  1. DuaneH

    DuaneH New Member

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    I’m wondering if anyone has any perspective on the likelihood of this Arbutus tree surviving if we fell the Fir next to it. These two trees are at the front of our cabin site (about 3 metres from our front deck). We are concerned about a strong westerly wind eventually knocking the fir onto our cabin. We'd also like to increase the chances of the Arbutus surviving the disease that is spreading up the Sunshine Coast . Does anyone have a perspective on whether the Arbutus will survive if we cut the majority of the fir down?
     

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  2. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    That appears to be a Douglas-fir next to the Arbutus, and I assume that it is significantly taller. If the Douglas-fir has large branches blocking a significant amount of sunlight from reaching the Arbutus, then removing the shade all at once could significantly damage the Arbutus due to sunburning of leaves and/or bark. In that case, the Douglas-fir should be cut back gradually, over a period of years.

    The other potential problem is wind: the Arbutus might not be able to resist the force of the strongest winds without the sheltering effect of the Douglas-fir. In either case, an assessment by a qualified arborist would be advised.
     
  3. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Judging from the diameters of their trunks, I would guess the fir is much younger than the arbutus. According to an arborist I know, Douglas fir can grow from 4 to 6 feet in height every year. It definitely should go before it gets much larger, just for safety reasons. If, as Vitog suggests, there are concerns about it protecting the arbutus from wind and/or sun, taking it out over 2 or 3 years would be prudent. Spiral pruning would be a good start. At the same time, an arborist might cut the arbutus back to reduce its potential for falling on the cabin which would certainly help you sleep better at night. Unfortunately, I doubt the proximity of the fir will have anything to do with the ability of the arbutus to resist the fungal diseases that are killing them with increasing frequency the past few years.
     
  4. DuaneH

    DuaneH New Member

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    Many thanks @Margot and @vitog for your comments. I like the idea of spiral pruning so that we can asses the impact over the next few years. Thank you for your time to provide your opinion on this.
     

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