Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Arbutus In November

In terms of survival it seems that arbutus, Epigea repens, is risking a lot by forming its flower buds before winter.  So much can go wrong between now and May flowers.  These plants were placed at the base of a northwest facing slope.  A north slope is supposed to shed its leaf cover to winter wind helping arbutus avoid smothering.  Sunlight reaches the ground here only in late afternoon.  That should preserve snow cover.  I have been removing some of the fallen white pine needles to keep light striking these evergreen leaves.  For now, we can only hope and wait.

These plants were moved here this spring.  That story was told in a previous post.  We are not claiming success yet.  Several years survival will be required first.  As these transplanted roots venture out into our soil they must find some mysterious soil microbe if the plant is to survive.  For now we are delighted at the likely prospect of arbutus flowers next spring.

The arbutus cuttings did not do as well.  Of the forty cuttings taken only four show any signs of life now.  These will be placed in the ground near the mature plants soon.  I expect to see no signs of life from these next spring but I must give them a chance.  A new sandy mix will be tried next year.  This year all of the cuttings included a heel of the stem.  Next year we may try some straight stem cuttings as well.

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