British Columbia: Re-planting an arbutus tree

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by canudigit, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. canudigit

    canudigit Member

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    North Delta, BC, Canada
    I found a fallen arbutus tree on Mayne Island, and was wondering if it is possible to take a branch (or part of the branch) to try re-planting. I'm a rookie, so bear with me ....
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Arbutus menziesii is raised from seeds. Cuttings are used for A. unedo and A. 'Marina', but if your tree has been broken for some time, with deterioration of the top (wrinkling, drooping etc.) having occurred it is probably not in suitable condition to be used as a source of propagation material.
     
  3. galiano

    galiano Active Member

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    I lived for 24 years on Galiano Island and on numerous occasions tried transplanting arbutus, even tiny ones, without any success whatsoever. Arbutus are such beautiful trees but they seem to grow only where they want to. My advice would be to give up. I could be wrong about this and if anyone has had success growing or transplanting I'd like to hear about it.
     
  4. Robby Doom

    Robby Doom Member

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    I was wondering if anyone here has any experience in using Arbutus menziesii for bonsai.
    I just recently saw these trees while traveling home(Alert Bay) from Nanaimo this past week. What a beautiful tree!! I'm originally from Ontario. We don't have many of the tree that grow here in BC. I have many bonsai and would love to have Arbutus in my collection.
    Also, I would pay, if someone could get their hands on some seeds or seedlings and have them shipped to me. Unless someone knows of a place close to me. I have never seen this tree where I am.
     
  5. ryansenechal

    ryansenechal Active Member

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    I will second that Arbutus are very difficult to establish outside of existing stands where conditions are suitable. Next to impossible to transplant with success and very difficult to grow from seed. There's some interesting work out of UWash being done on introducing a hormone to stems/cuttings and inducing adventitious rooting to develop a more successful method of commercial propagation of resistant clones. We are losing Arbutus menziesii at an alarming rate on the south island.
     
  6. galiano

    galiano Active Member

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    I live on an acre in North Saanich and have perhaps a dozen arbutus. I have cleared carefully around most of them and removed dead branches. All seem to be doing well. It is sad though that many seem to be dying on the Island and the Gulf Islands.
     
  7. canudigit

    canudigit Member

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    Yes, it is sad. They are such beautiful trees, I thought I might be able to transplant on the mainland. There are a few around, and we live about 1/2 kilometer from the Fraser River, but I suppose the trees prefer the salt water/air. I'll keep trying.
     
  8. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    Location:
    Langley, B.C. Stones throw from old HBC farm.
    Here is a link that could be useful for anyone interested in trying to cultivate an Arbutus tree.
    http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ARME
    It seems that they prefer an acid soil are and not tolerant of of calcium. You could try starting your cutting in a acid soil well drained and adjust the water to the acid side of the PH scale.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Snipping off the leaves of small specimens, pulling them out (bare-rooted) of the by then well-moistened ground in Feb. and potting up, placing in a humid frame or greenhouse to re-leaf and re-root has been suggested as a successful method in the past.
     
  10. galiano

    galiano Active Member

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    From my experience, and I have tried numerous ways, what you suggest will likely kill the small tree you are trying to transplant. Leave them be is the best advice.
     
  11. nancyf

    nancyf Member

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    hi, my father is quite proud of the fact that 40 years ago he managed to transplant a small Arbutus tree to Deep Cove in N. Vancouver, where it remains one of the only ones in the area. The tree is still there as as far as I know and is huge. He told me that he chiseled the root out of a rocky cliff on Saltspring Island with a rock hammer, wrapped the root in moist paper towels and once home he planted it on a dry sloping area below his garage in a bunch of sand and cement debris....! the rest is history...
     
  12. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I have had no luck transplanting seedlings. For a few years, I have collected the seed, planted then in pots and placed them in the fridge. I get lots of germination shortly after removing from the fridge, but I have never been successful at transplanting any of the seedlings. This year I will collect and stratify the seed again, but I plan to keep them in the fridge until later in the Spring and plant them directly into the garden as soon as I take them from the fridge, hoping to germinate them in place.

    Arbutus menziesii make abundant fruit and seeds, so it should be easy enough to find seed to play with. Trees recently planted here in the Garry Oak Meadow and Woodland were grown from seed and successfully planted out in the garden. They are doing well.
     
  13. richard lawko

    richard lawko New Member

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    best bet is to leave some gallon pots with 3/4 sand 1/4 peat. gravel in bottom 2 inch of pot. collect the fruit and set in on the soil. i got one to start that way came up in spring. the other way i was able to start was to have my garden under two large trees which the fruit fell into some of my potted roses and have taken over the pots. i tried to transplant two of them to larger pots and they died. in retrospect i should maybe have waited till the tree was older or moved it right away.

    on another note the saplings have a serated leaf which i figure is so the deer dont eat them. when it gets really dry hear they do munch on the fresh leaves.

    i also believe there is(or might be) a slight varient of this tree which i have seen the city planting here in langford BC
     
  14. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Nat's Nursery has been growing these for a number of years so they should be available in BC if anyone wants to pay for one. They would be germinating them in plug trays then potting up without the shock of "transplanting".

    Street tree arbutus sounds more like Arbutus "Marina"...which was having mixed results in our area of the world. A nice looking tree...hybrid of some kind I think?
     
  15. richard lawko

    richard lawko New Member

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    the marina arbutus looks like the ones they have been planting here. they redid a few roads in langford from the new overpass and they seem to be doing well but the marina does have a pink flower as the Arbutus menzeisii has white flowers and has a slightly different growth pattern the menzeisii grows taller and wider also thicker in the trunk. i did also notice today that they had planted some menzeisii here in the 5gal pots right in the ground to prevent shock i guess. they have been there a couple years now so i guess if grown from seed in peat cups then put in bigger pots then the ground is a feasible option. although i have noticed that the wild menzeisii tend to grow in the most undesirable spots on rock faces usually in gary oak ecosystem. lower mountain cliffs and canyons.

    just my two sense. i will let you guys know in another year how my potted ones are going and if i get any more starting this year i did not clean up the berries out of my pots/ garden bed i have under the two menzeisii
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2017
  16. Earth Ox

    Earth Ox Member

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    I don't know about cuttings but getting young plants is often easy. I got one from under hydro lines at the side of the hi-way where they are growing very close together and are regularly cut by hi-ways crews so no problem with removing a few little seedlings to try transplanting. I did that some years ago and have one in a pot that is about 3ft high. Another one was donated by some bird sitting on the edge of a pot in my yard. I transplanted that one into a flat bonsai dish/pot. Two years on the little one and so far, so good. A slow grower.

    Both have spotty leaves and I am curious to know if there is anything that can be used to eliminate the spots that form on leaves from the fungal diseases they are prone to. ( I have given up on the black spot on roses and just live with that.)

    Somewhere I got the idea that they do not like their pots to be turned around - that they like to face the same way all the time (like gardenias) and I have been careful to keep them facing the same direction any time I move them.


    Good luck with the cuttings. It would be nice to know if they take.
     
  17. FromElsewhere

    FromElsewhere New Member

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    Hi There :)

    I have planted two arbutus trees in two different locations in Metro Vancouver.

    One was just left in a plant pot in our community garden and was no taller than about 9-10"
    One plume (wrong term I know...but you understand what I mean...) of leaves at the end of a single stalk no wider than a pencil.

    There other obtained in early 2016 was a sapling that was transplanted from the
    vicinity of Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver.

    The first one was kept in the pot indoors over the winter and was transplanted outdoors in May 2012 to a curbside boulevard
    within the city near the community garden. It's height when transplanted was about 10" high. This tree has thrived in quite an amazing way.
    It is now well past 15 FEET high and its only been 5 years since being put in the ground. It flowered for the first time this year and the trunk is more than
    the circumference of your Starbucks travel coffee mug :) - you cannot get your thumb & forefinger around it - there will be about a 4 inch gap.

    For this one I think the secret to it doing so well is that I fed it with a load of granite rocks in the bottom of the hole it was planted in -
    AND I do believe it has tapped into the underground creek that runs under that area (Still Creek).

    The second has only just this year started to flourish noticeably. It has two plumes of leaves on a split stalk - the stalk still the size of a pencil.
    Planted in 2016, it did nothing - meaning it showed no growth -but the leaves were still green, so I decided to wait and give it another season.

    This one is in my backyard.

    This year the amount of leaves on it have doubled AND it actually flowered also - SO - looks like it is living :D.

    I don't know if it will grow at the same rate as the first, but it IS growing and so will be lovely energy to have around the neighborhood.

    That people is my Arbutus story. They can grow from small saplings transplanted if you are careful about getting enough of the root ball.
    Adding some granite rocks to the planting hole is a benefit to the tree as this mimics their natural habitat on the rocky coastlines of BC.

    Good luck...OH and it helps to NAME your trees - Mine are Shelly Arbutus (older) and Maverick Arbutus (younger) :)

    Cheers Everyone.
     
    Daniel Mosquin likes this.
  18. sempervirens 206

    sempervirens 206 New Member

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    Location:
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    I've been growing a crop of Arbutus/Madrona (in Seattle) seedlings that will be two years old this spring. I collected the fruit at Laurelhurst Park in Seattle October 2015, then spread the seed on surface of soil in a black plastic box about 16-inches deep with plenty of drainage holes and air vent slats cut in the sides. The box was filled with a soil mix of coarse sand, perlite, Gardener Bloom soil-building compost and Fox Farm potting soil. Box was left outside over winter and dozens of them germinated in March and April 2016. Make sure the box gets some sun. A couple weeks after they germinated in April I used a butter knife to carefully tease some seedlings out of the box, bare root, to transplant into individual 4- 6-inch tree pots.

    Excellent drainage is critical. You need to ensure the soil dries before watering, but be careful, they can dry out very quickly in sun and hot weather. In Seattle and Tacoma temps were upper 20s and even 30s all summer so proper watering was critical. With a bit less heat in Vic or Van watering will be slightly less annoying. I found the seedlings can grow somewhat continuously from spring to October so long as they're fertilized with fish fertilizer or urine solution as needed (if leaves are red, fertilize).

    In my case I used small tree pots (4- and 6-inch deep) for the initial transplant from the box, so they required up-potting into larger 12- or 16-inch deep tree pots as the first summer and autumn progressed. They seem to appreciate some coconut coir chunks in the soil mix, and again make sure there is good/excellent drainage. With my coarse soil mix the 16-inch tree pots were annoying to water because water tends to run through without soaking the coconut chunks. To get the soil properly soaked I set the tree pots in a CLEAN bucket of water filled as high as possible so the tree pot doesn't float. Leave it for like an hour so ensure all the soil is wet. Again, make sure they dry out before watering again.

    I didn't get around to up-potting all of them until spring/summer of the second year (2017). And about a dozen were actually still growing in the original box until July this past summer. They ranged in size but were about 5- 6-inches tall, all with 16-inch long roots tangled together in the box. I broke the plastic box apart, and carefully teased them out of the soil (bare rooted) using my hands to limit damage to roots. BTW, please note that my soil mix was so course the roots easily bare-rooted. I actually root-pruned a few inches off most of them before transplanting into 16-inch tree pots. Make sure you keep them moist while they're waiting for transplant. I think I had two die, and a dozen survived. Because it was hot late summer I put these ones in mostly shade for several weeks while they acclimated to the transplant.

    In general I've found them pretty easy to grow so long as they get sun and good air circulation, and not overwatered in summer. Yes they are more fussy to grow in containers than the usual conifers, but they can definitely be grown and transplanted in containers with limited mortality.

    Anyone interested in these magnificent Pacific Coast trees should absolutely try propagating them from seed. The fruit is ripe in late October or November. Once established I've noticed the same fast growth as FromElsewhre in Vancouver. They can be vigorous and grow several feet per year once established in the ground.

    I've yet to try direct seeding on the ground, but I'm thinking that would be very easy. Mix seeds in coarse sand and broadcast on bare soil in desired location just as you would perennials or annuals. Once they germinate they're probably going to need thinning to avoid competition and ensure vigorous growth.

    I'll follow up with some pics if people are interested.

    Cheers from Seattle- BTW I wish Washington could join Canada. Or we just start Cascadia already, we now have well over 8 million people living along the Salish Sea and growing fast.
     
  19. Kurt Schneider

    Kurt Schneider New Member

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    I know this is an old thread, but, another possibility for propagating Arbutus could/would be air laying off branches. While it takes more time you are more likely to get success then simply taking cuttings. :)
     
  20. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Active Member

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    more old thread update news

    it's a great topic because these trees are some of the most unique to Canada - and also - typify that corner of the country - everyone knows a great old arbutus (and it's the only broadleaf evergreen tree, I ask the experts? - native to Pac NW region?)

    it's sad to see them randomly destroyed - however, a few years ago - we had a huge reno done on an old cabin at the ocean where Arbutus grow - just after their major die-back about 10 yrs ago

    we did not cut or kill any arbutus in this project - however there had been big grand-daddy huge one on a neighbour property -

    well - i was fretting about the entire lot destroyed for a septic and driveway - anyway - I've had more native arbutus grow from seed since that major disturbance of human machinery etc.

    so surprising and delightful - I'm not a botanist but maybe there were seeds from neighbour trees from years prior? Not sure.

    -------------------

    anyway - I've never seen one layered in nature (eg by falling over and self layering)

    and I've never known of one home-made from a cutting

    I have a neighbour who shears one to "improve" their view (cringe!)

    and I've always been told they just don't transplant (nor should we be - whole diff topic - possible exception would be rescue from land development with permission)
     
  21. Kurt Schneider

    Kurt Schneider New Member

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    Theoretically they should be air layer able. I'm going to try my hand at it at one of my customers places (I asked them permission, they're plant philes as well XD). I suspect it might take two growing seasons to successfully layer but I'll keep you guys/gals updated. Cheers. :)
     
  22. Peter R Lake

    Peter R Lake New Member

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    My uncle successfully replanted an arbutus in the early 60s in Vancouver (it was wetter then). His advice (only partly tongue in cheek): "Dig a hole. a big hole. Put in some rocks. Put in some gravel. Put in the tree and put in more rocks and gravel. Then whisper the word 'soil' over it"
    I planted one about 15 years ago on Haida gwaii on a rocky hillside above my property. Soon forgot it and it disappeared under salmonberry bushes...... until it appeared sideways through the berries. It's now a trunk about 20 cm diameter curving upwards (now that it's found the light).
    I know of at least two others in our little town there which are at least 10 years older than that one. Both on hillsides or on top of same.
     
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  23. Margot

    Margot Well-Known Member

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    After reading through all the posts in this thread, the question that begs to be asked is, "Why?" Why would anyone who is familiar with the growth habits of these trees deliberately choose to plant one in their garden? Just because they are beautiful doesn't mean they are garden-worthy.

    Certainly, Arbutus menszesii is exceptionally gorgeous, dramatic and unique, especially gnarly, older specimens. When I lived on the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, I coveted one and was successful germinating dozens from the seeds contained in just a few berries. Now, living on Vancouver Island, with several very old trees on my property, it is a different story. Besides dealing with the disease and death of so many, they are an ongoing maintenance nightmare.

    These trees belong in the wild where, hopefully, they can more successfully fend off the many disease and climatic challenges they face. They are not a good choice, in my opinion, for a residential garden, especially as they grow older and larger. For example, my (remaining) trees began dropping leaves in mid-May this year and continue still. The leaves are often diseased and do not degrade for several years in any case. Where 2 or more accumulate one on top of the other, anyone stepping on them risks falling - they're that slick - like plastic sheets.

    That's just talking about the leaves. Throughout the year, there is a continuous fall of leaves, flowers, berries and peeling bark. My ideal garden does not demand perfection but mature arbutus are an ongoing challenge. I would never deliberately remove the surviving giant arbutus that have been growing on my property for centuries but if I could snap my fingers to relocate them to the neighbouring woods, I would! Snap!
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
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  24. Kurt Schneider

    Kurt Schneider New Member

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    Whereas I find their twisty, sprawling nature and peeling bark part of their allure. I just planted two ~ 2 foot high arbutuses in my urban yard (on the sunny, south facing slope). :P

    If anyone is interested, Amsterdam nurseries in pitt meadows has ~1.5-2 foot high arbutus for sell in 4'' starter pots for 8-10$ a piece in the spring. :)
     
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  25. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Active Member

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    I have a neighbor who has spectacular, beautifully designed, and interesting garden (various collections all across the spectrum) - and they are not a fan of native arbutus at the coast. Cut them down. Ouch - I cringe because my dream is to have a rocky lot with arbutus! well, at least one magnificent arbutus framing my view. In then end, I have a diff neighbor who has sheared top off their arbutus (the helper guy did the shearing) because they want their full view. You can imagine how that looks, very sad. Poor arbutus can't win in suburbia.

    the reason the neighbor is not a fan of arbutus is that they (their words) - to the effect - are messy and shed leaves and so forth.

    I do agree with previous poster about how slippery the fallen leaves are. But then again I've fallen on a on a slippery damp mush of big leaf maple leaves - and we still love our trees and the nature and clean air they bring us. And the way they frame our huge views at the coast.
     

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