Plant ID - Presumably arbutus?

laurell(8 - Washington)September 1, 2012

Howdy folks,

I tore out a whole heck of a lot of junipers, and while most things weren't able to survive in them, I found a few sad spindly holly shoots and on the edge of the junipers, this guy. Of course I forgot to take a good photo of it, but it has slightly reddish bark and presumably evergreen leaves. In my very limited experience, that cuts out most things except rhodies and arbutus of some sort. One thing that isn't visible in the photos is the serrations on the ends of the leaves. Starting about halfway down the leaf all the way to the tip similar to the arbutus unedo that I recently picked up. The serrations are not as deep as something like a Pac. Wax Myrtle, they're very shallow. The site is rocky and sandy and obviously a slope, no irrigation, at least for the last 4+ years, and it's only now getting full sun, before I took out the junipers it was getting some shade.

When I get home tonight I can get better photos, though I basically am just trying to determine whether I want to keep it around. If it's a rhododendron it's getting taken out, but I'm a sucker for arbutus... Thanks in advance!

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plantknitter(8)

conditions are right for Arbutus menziesii

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 2:09PM
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lilydude

It looks like Arbutus menziesii to me.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 3:34PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Spontaneous madrona seedling that appears to be crapping out.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 4:24PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Damn. Think it has any likelihood of making it or should I just pull it out and put in something more likely to survive?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 4:55PM
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bejoy2(8)

If it is a madrona, it may be doomed anyway. Since it was previously getting some shade, and now is in full sun, it could sunburn along the trunk, and that would begin a slow decline, eventually killing it. And it can't be transplanted easily, either, since even young trees have extremely long tap roots. Madronas are declining in the PNW, so it would be really nice to have one more to add to the population. It's still young, so it might adapt to its new conditions. If you do decide to keep it, don't put a lush landscape around it. Madronas prefer poor, dry soil, and good air circulation around them. Some black spots on the leaves is probably nothing to be concerned about, as it is a family trait for ericaceous plants (rhododendrons, salal, kinnickinick) that they are susceptible to blackspot. Good air circulation around the plant helps keep blackspot at bay.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 4:57PM
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bejoy2(8)

If it is a madrona, it may be doomed anyway. Since it was previously getting some shade, and now is in full sun, it could sunburn along the trunk, and that would begin a slow decline, eventually killing it. And it can't be transplanted easily, either, since even young trees have extremely long tap roots. Madronas are declining in the PNW, so it would be really nice to have one more to add to the population. It's still young, so it might adapt to its new conditions. If you do decide to keep it, don't put a lush landscape around it. Madronas prefer poor, dry soil, and good air circulation around them. Some black spots on the leaves is probably nothing to be concerned about, as it is a family trait for ericaceous plants (rhododendrons, salal, kinnickinick) that they are susceptible to blackspot. Good air circulation around the plant helps keep blackspot at bay.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 4:58PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Thanks bejoy. I have one in the back that the previous owners had trimmed into a rhody shape for decades. It's finally getting some height and looking like a real tree! Every spring it gets that fungal deal and looks terrible, but comes back and always is looking fabulous by the end of the year.

Everything going in will be drought-tolerant and I'm not planning on trucking in any topsoil for this portion of the garden. I'll just plant around it, mulch, and leave it at that. If it's not doing well by next autumn, I'll pull it out and put something different in. I'd like to give it the option to survive. The neighbors across the street cut down a GORGEOUS madrone last summer that I'd have liked to have seen stay there.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 5:15PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

There is no question this is a madrona, and it looks very much to have burned up as a result of recent changes to the site.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 5:42PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Negative. That photo was taken the day that the junipers were removed and looks exactly the same a week later. I will observe and see how it does. Since it was so close to the fence I am assuming that the junipers did not fully shade it and there may be some possibility for survival.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 5:45PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Then something else sent it into a tailspin.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 10:21PM
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larry_gene

My immediate impression, before scrolling below the picture, was madrone. It took far longer (about 15 seconds) to fetch the word "madrone" out of memory than it did to dislike the arbutus ID.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:19AM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Hi Larry, I'm not sure what that means? Are you saying that you believe that it is in fact a madrone but by my description it sounded like something else? Or that arbutus brings up hatred and anger when you hear it?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 11:37AM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Hi Larry, I'm not sure what that means? Are you saying that you believe that it is in fact a madrone but by my description it sounded like something else? Or that arbutus brings up hatred and anger when you hear it?

3 new photos

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 11:47AM
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lilydude

I would give it a good soak, and then leave it alone. Mulch with bark. It might just be dry, due to competition from the junipers. I've grown a lot of madrones from seed, and have them growing in heavy soil in full sun at my place. I give them some water in late summer, but not more often than once a month. They aren't that hard to grow, but every year a couple of them will die, even though they all have the same conditions. It's the nature of the beast.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 1:31PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I would also give it some water like lilydude says. We haven't had rain since July 22nd and it's getting more sun than it's used to.
Trimmed, they can be a nice tree. The only thing I don't like about them is that they drop a load of leaves in June, but by keeping them small, the mess is minimized.
Mike

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 4:43PM
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larry_gene

Disliking identification text accompanying a computer image on an anonymous forum is impersonal enough, in most cases.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 12:10AM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Hi Larry,
I'm not upset or offended or anything, your statement just seemed a little vague and confusing and I was trying to understand what you were saying.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 12:55PM
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