Arbutus: Planting "Arbutus menziesii" in Nova Scotia

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by Bernie LeBlanc, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. Bernie LeBlanc

    Bernie LeBlanc Member

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    St. Albert, Alberta
    Hi everyone,

    I am looking for advice regarding the establishment of arbutus in Nova Scotia. The planting site is next to the ocean in a sheltered bay outside of Antigonish, N.S. I've successfully established other West Coast species - including Yellow Cedar, Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir in this area. The forested site is well-drained, non-acidic, with a surrounding forest of red oak and red maple. The seedlings are 4-5" plugs, originating from Vancouver Island. Please help. Thanks!
     
  2. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Bernie:
    My understanding (I don't recall where this came from) is the Arbutus co-exists with a specific micorrhyza (? spelling), and without it, it dies. Your supplier should know about this if it is a real issue. I know from my own experience (0 for about 6 trys) that they can be hard to establish. Looking at them in their natural habitat here, a near complete absence of "good" soil conditions seems necessary. Also, they grow mostly in a very narrow band near the ocean and go to great lengths to get their crowns into direct sunlight.
    Hopefully someone with more direct and successful experience will weigh in with some real assistance.
    Ralph
     
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    As far as I know the mycorhizzae connection is garnering more and more weight for Arbutus. It is apparently a very specific partnership and without it, forget it. The supplier may have some input towards this and may in fact have some mycorhizzae to offer (even a good pile of soil from the base of a living arbutus or some good amount of fibrous roots) can bring the population to where it will establish and sustain itself with the Arbutus. I have been doing research lately on mycorhizzae (just for my own knowledge ) and it is interesting.

    http://64.233.179.104/u/universityo...lications/1222.pdf+mycorrhizal&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

    http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/courses/mpp/AM.html

    http://orissagov.nic.in/e-magazine/...hizaanditssignificanceinsustainableforest.pdf
     
  4. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    I've also done quite a bit of poking around re mycorrhizae.

    The type of relationship in arbutus is rather unique, referred to as arbutoid. It is an intergrade between the ecto and endo forms. It is primarily found in the arbutus and it's close relative the arctostaphylos. The actual fungus species can be quite common, tho, like pisolithus, a common forest mushroom.

    The simple way to hedge your bets with this plant in Nova Scotia would be to plant healthy local bearberry (arctostaphylos uva-ursi) in the root zone of your new arbutus imports...I'm hoping the bearberry is native or at least commonly available there. It tends to be well colonized with compatible mycos in the wild, if you can find some in your own woods (?) Many of the mycos in the douglas fir roots also colonize the arbutus, by the way. That's assuming the douglas fir was innoculated, which almost all are now by the forestry folks, who are really into mycorrhizae ( more than nursery/landscaping businesses up to this point).

    The big question still remains whether Nova Scotia is going to be within arbutus's climate requirements. Close as possible to the ocean, but out of the way of arctic winds...

    Glen
     
  5. What climate zone are you? Arbutus species are generally hardy to around zone 7. That being said, make sure it is in full sun, with sharply drained soil (gravel and rocky soil are ideal). The more sunshine you can give it, the happier it will be. And with the exception of the first year or so, I would refrain from giving it much summer water, as this will cause root rot. Leave it high and dry from June through Sept.
     
  6. I am not sure if it would do that well in Antigonish. I believe its zone 5a or 5b. A better place to try an A. menziesii would be Yarmouth. Which is zone 7a and has a cool winter and cool summer climate.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes: tolerance of climate conditions there highly doubtful. The other species you listed as indicators of potential suitability really aren't, being for the most part considerably hardier, to begin with.
     

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