Arbutus: How to help this struggling Pac. Madrone?

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by Natalie M., Aug 24, 2009.

  1. Natalie M.

    Natalie M. Active Member

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    On the side of the driveway at my house there's a small madrone that's been eeking out an existence behind the oleander for many years. I've lived here for over 10 years, and I think the tree's grown maybe two or three feet in that time? Today I went behind the oleander and got a good look at it for the first time in a few months, and it's not looking so hot. I noticed its leaves were a bit droopy... I figured this was because it was a small tree and we got barely any rain this winter, so I gave the tree a good watering to hopefully perk it up. I hope that didn't hurt it.

    Also, it's directly competing with the oleander a few feet away, which is probably the tree's biggest problem. They steal its sunlight and nutrients, so today I cut off a bunch of the oleander branches that were invading the madrone's personal space. The tree is surrounded in such a way that it only gets maybe a few hours of shadow-dappled sunlight every day, if that. There is one giant oleander (at least four or five meters high) in particular that grows about 10 feet away from the tree and directly south of it, so that blocks the majority of the sunlight.

    I got a few pictures of the tree... Does anyone recognize what could be wrong with it? I'm going to cut down more oleander branches to hopefully get the little madrone more sunlight. I would hate to see this amazing native tree succumb to the competition of the nasty oleander.
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Since Arbutus may be dying probably as well not to attack other shrubs for its sake. Arbutus require full light, explaining the spindliness of this one.
     
  3. Natalie M.

    Natalie M. Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply... I'm not too worried about the oleander, no matter what I do to it, it just becomes angrier and more vigorous. It's not my favorite plant anyway. The madrone hasn't immediately acted to the changes I made around it, but I'll try to cut some more oleander branches off and see how it fares.
     

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