Wednesday, March 25, 2015
End Of March Arbutus
We have trailing arbutus growing in three separate locations here. A small wild patch grows near the gravel bank and is still covered with more than one foot of snow. Our first cluster of transplants is at the base of the cone shaped hill near the driveway. Safe from predators under a bright silver wire cage, these plants are beginning to emerge from the snow cover. I did shovel away the snow down to the top of the cage several days ago. New transplants are located at a considerable distance from the house and were seen for the first time just yesterday.
These old transplants are still covered in part with beady snow. Two clusters of blossom buds provide hope that the time for flowers grows near. The cycle of these evergreen leaves is still poorly understood here. Four brown leaves can be seen in the photo but their identity is unknown. We have yet to see dead arbutus leaves in any number. We have been watching these plants for nearly five years. That would suggest that most of these green leaves are really old. When this plants thaws, the identity of the brown leaves will be determined. For now the only safe course is limited to visual inspection.
This is a new transplant moved nearly one year ago. The circle of large leaves is the new growth produced last summer. The interior clump is the original plant. Its previous location exposed the plant to full sun and its leaves were small and sun scorched at moving day. New growth makes a circle around the old growth. A sharp contrast in leaf size might allow us to determine just how long individual leaves remain alive. It continues to appear that transplantation of small arbutus plants is possible if their need for a wild location is satisfied.
This cluster of three small leaves has been under observation since last fall. It gives every appearance of being a new daughter arbutus plant from seed. Located on the edge of the soil clump that was moved along with a larger arbutus, we have no way of knowing just how long this seed was waiting to begin life. We did plant seed last summer and are anxiously awaiting any sign that germination is underway. Someday soon all of this snow should be gone and we will have a chance for a proper look about.