Arbutus: Winter damage

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by maggiec, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member

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    My arbutus unedo ‘Compacta’ (6 yrs old) has not come through this winter as well as it has in previous years. The snow & freezing temps have left much of the foliage blackened. The tree is about 6' tall. I wonder how well it takes to pruning? I've only pruned very lightly in the past to shape the tree, but now I am thinking about taking more severe measures to take out the damaged foliage.
    Will it leaf out from the very woody parts of the branches? Is it too early?

    Thanks for any info.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Wait and see what it does on its own. Completely dead parts can be cut out/off later.
     
  3. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member

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    Thanks Ron. I guess I have to learn to be patient. A couple of mild days and I start getting itchy fingers...
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Of course it looks shabby in the meantime. You can tell what is good by examining the twigs for freshness, maybe don't have to wait for sprouting.

    If the blackening is actually a fungus problem then pruning once or twice will not get rid of it.
     
  5. maggiec

    maggiec Active Member

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    I'm pretty sure it was the cold weather. The tree had been growing very well until the freezing temps, which also damaged a few other shrubs. I was also thinking about pruning it more than usual as it is starting to get a bit large. Although the plant tag said 5', it is now well over 6' and still going strong. It sits close to my neighbour's side of the bed, and he is quite particular about having neat little soldiers. I just wonder how it responds to pruning & does it sprout readily from older wood? I would like it to look natural even if kept in check.
     
  6. Arbcoll

    Arbcoll Member

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    If the plant tag said 5' it was a slight understatement, or maybe it meant in 5 years - 'Compacta' will reach 10' in 10 - 20 years growing. But the good news is that you can prune to whatever size you want - and it can be used to make an impressive formal hedge, if you like the soldiers type gardening (there is such a hedge on the Isle of Wight, U.K.).
     

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