Thursday, May 26, 2011

Arbutus Move Plus One

Last week we made public our willingness to fly in the face of conventional wisdom and transplant arbutus, Epigea repens.  Our timing appears to have been perfect.  Daily rain has kept the moved plants moist.  Now is the time that arbutus puts out new growth.  The two pale green leaves at each end of the plant were not present last week.  It certainly looks like these plants intend to adjust to their new home.

The mysterious soil microbe that must be present if arbutus is to survive is reported to grow on or with white pine roots.  Not every arbutus patch that we have seen grows in proximity to white pines but all are intermingled with moss.  We placed our transplants in contact with white pine roots and they brought along their own moss.  If these plants survive we will have no way of knowing what served as the source of the needed microbe.  It could be white pine roots or it could be moss.  Time will tell if the move was successful but for now we are encouraged.

This long picture shows the entire patch.  Last week's post included a similar image.  Purple violets are missing from the new picture but the two light green arbutus leaves were not in the old image.  Present but not visible are numerous brown fuzzy new arbutus leaves.  Each separate plant displays this new growth.  Yes we are excited.

In approximately two weeks we plan to return to the source of these transplants and take new growth cuttings.  We will try and do this right and see if we can start new plants.  We will also look for seeds. More reading needs to be done so that we can recognize ripe seeds.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

Isn't it wonderful when an experiment works? I think plants are more adaptable than we often give them credit for. And you clearly gave careful thought to the correct site conditions for the arbutus and timing of transplanting.