Arbutus: How best to plant Arbutus?

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by Daniel Mosquin, Sep 11, 2002.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    The following message was received via email from Sechelt, BC:

    I have small, 8" arbutus in pot in shade. How best to plant it? Exposed to weather or sheltered? Soil here very thin layer over deep sand. Should it be enriched with new soil - or let well alone? We have 1/2 acre, with other trees etc. Front of property drier and exposed to weather, back is cooler and damper and sheltered. Can you give me some advice? Thanks.
  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Vancouver, Canada

    Here in southwestern BC (I'm assuming this is where you're writing from), arbutus grow best in maximum light, more or less exposed to the elements. Because this is the northern limit of the range of the species (Arbutus menziesii), it normally grows only "edaphically;" i.e., where soil conditions allow. In other words, it only grows locally on extremely well-drained sites, such as in gravel, or on steep rocky slopes, where the evaporation rate is high at the soil surface in summer and water does not accumulate in winter.

    Arbutus generally do not survive transplanting, unless done with particular care. Specifically, one needs to take care not to break roots (this kind of damage is ideal for the entry of plant pathogens) and to ensure adequate aeration in the root zone (do not overly compact the soil around the roots).

    Good luck.
  3. westgatea

    westgatea Active Member

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    transplanting arbutus from pot

    Thanks for the help - I am now terrified to plant the wretched thing! However, I have to do something with it, so I'll give it a try. Also, thanks for the new and mysterious word "edaphically" - one never knows when one may need it again! Thanks - Audrey.

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