Arbutus: Arbutus marina hardiness

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by Carrot Top, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. Carrot Top

    Carrot Top Member

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    I'm a landscape contractor and I'm considering purchasing some Arbutus 'Marina' trees for a client. This year I have notice an influx of beautiful specimens at the nurseries and I am enticed but wary because they are rated for zone 8. Has anyone had experience growing them in Vancouver, BC or the pacific NW? In particular has anyone noted how the tree coped with our winter of 2006/2007?

    My plan is to locate the tree with southern exposure, very well drained soil, control of irrigation and appropriate companion plants. I'm trying to gather as much information as possible so I can relay the risks involved to my client. Any feedback will be much appreciated. Thank you!

    Stephen
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Hardy most winters, but probably not all. Expect some occasional damage. The last serious killer winter here was in 1990, all 'Marina' planted here date from the 1990s on (Jacobson, Trees of Seattle - Second Edition) and may not have been tested by that one. Until another 30-year winter comes along serious problem already demonstrated is stock dominating availability coming from certain large California producer(s) with bound roots, resulting in leaning and perhaps eventual girdling and death. Most in noticeable planting lining a street in NW Seattle are now leaning this way and that as you drive past, after some years in place. Take another look at those beautiful specimens, to check for deformed roots. Warning signs are stout stakes being used to hold up ones that are past the training-into-trees phase (by tying leaders to stakes to get single trunks), and circling roots visible on top of the soil.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Another California supplier - this is not the one I referred to above - says

    "Sun to part shade, little or no summer watering when established. Hardy to at least 15°F based on our experience. Prefers good drainage."

    http://montereybaynsy.com/A.htm

    I watered a friend's established specimen several times last summer. Tree expert A. L. Jacobson commented recently that I hurt it doing so, it does look a little funky as though it would have been better off going without.
     
  4. Carrot Top

    Carrot Top Member

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    Thanks for the information Ron. I will do as you say and check for girdling, etc. The large specimens are in boxes and are staked. I just remembered I have photos so take a look if you like.
    Today I inspected 5 planted in a front garden last year I believe. They don't look particularly happy with many yellow leaves but fairly vigorous new grwth. These trees also look as if they have the original stakes still in place.
     

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  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Like ones offered here. Look at the tops of the soil to see if deformed roots visible, I think it highly likely they were potbound at some point. This, unfortunately is the case with container-grown nursery stock in general, apart from the tendency for this particular item to be sold with circling roots.
     

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