Blessed with dark green leaves and white to pink flowers, the Arbutus marina tree is a beauty. It is from the arbutus family, commonly known as the strawberry trees. Even with its slow growth, the tree can become evergreen and drought-resistant.
Arbutus marina grows to become a large tree of up to 40 feet and more than 20 feet in width. It produces flowers all season round, which peaks in the fall. The flower is pendant shaped and grows into a red fruit.
It can have both the red mature fruits and the younger yellow ones on it at the same time. This makes the tree a beauty to behold.
The fruit is a close relative in taste to the common strawberry fruit. It has a milder taste than the strawberry fruit and has a more gritty texture. The tree grows best in well-drained soil with a lot of sunlight.
Arbutus Marina Tree Care
Being an evergreen tree, robust and hardy, it can withstand adverse conditions. Nonetheless, it requires care and attention for proper growth. Here is a list of ways to take good care of your Arbutus marina tree.
Soil and Water Condition
It is vital to ensure that the tree is planted in well-drained, well-aerated loam soil. The soil should be well watered but not water-logged. Excess water causes the root to rot. It also encourages the development of the disease Phytophthora root rot.
In the earlier stages, the soil around it should be mulched. This helps to keep the right amount of water in the soil around the roots.
For proper growth, the Arbutus marina tree requires a high amount of sunlight. It averages require over 8 hours of sunshine per day. This makes it imperative to plant the tree in a well-exposed location. It is also necessary to clear whatever can shield it from enjoying a full dose of the sun.
This can be an activity that helps expose the whole of the tree to adequate sunshine. Pruning is more required to ensure the tree grows in a particular shape. But more importantly, pruning is needed for proper aeration and sunlight exposure. It also helps the plant to grow healthier leaves and branches.
Once dense, the internal foliage can shield sunlight off the other parts of the tree. This is an excellent place to prune when it becomes thick. Pruning helps improve the health of the plant. It is best to prune after the peak of fruiting in the winter or fall.
Protection from Wind
This is more important when the tree is still young. Strong wind can also break the branches even when well grown. So the tree must be protected from strong wings to avoid breaking its branches. Strong can also shed flowers and fruits prematurely.
Manure And Weeding
Organic manure is excellent for the Arbutus marina. Weeding is required while the tree is growing to avoid unhealthy competition. As it grows, the canopy hinders the growth of weeds. It is also needed to protect the plant from frost. The plant can be covered when there is serious frost.
Arbutus marina is not usually affected by pests and diseases. But some do disturb the tree. At various stages of tree growth, here is a list of pests that can infest it.
Pests Of Arbutus Marina Tree
These insects are known to attack several plants. The wooly aphid can attack the tree, especially when younger or in areas of new growth. They attack the roots, branches, and tree bark. The aphids cause stunted growth due to cankers and galls they produce by their activities.
These insects can also be a source of more harmful viruses to the tree. As the aphids feed, they release substances called honeydew. This substance (honeydew) is fed on by sooty molds. Though the molds do not cause any severe damage, their dense growth can reduce the tree’s aesthetics.
The aphids can be controlled with insecticide sprays. The use of horticultural soap is a much safer and more organic means. There is less effect on beneficial insects that may be in the vicinity.
Mainly a threat for younger Arbutus trees. Thrips are small insects that have piercing mouthparts. They use their mouthparts to bore holes into the leaves and stems of the tree. They can even do some damage to the back of young trees. Galls develop on the plant parts and can cause stunted growth and wilting of parts. They can also be the source of sooty mold attack on the leaves.
The best way to deal with thrips is to use pesticides. Neem oil, sulfur dust, horticultural oil, a spray of imidacloprid, and dimethoate are effective.
The sharpshooters are a group of glassy-winged leafhoppers. These insects have sucking mouthparts. They suck fluid from different parts of the Arbutus marina.
They generally do not cause any serious damage to the tree but can be detrimental in large numbers. The use of insecticidal sprays is enough to get rid of these insects.
Soft Scale And Cotton Scale
The sap of the Arbutus tree is sucked by these sap-sucking insects. The cotton scale lay a white cottony egg. When they hatch, the young scales form a colony by producing white cotton-like material around themselves. They suck out the cell content of the tree as the group around the leave veins.
Insecticidal sprays are the control methods against soft and cotton scales. Neem oil can be used, or horticultural soap and oil can also be used.
With their white cotton-like waxy covering, mealy bugs consume the cell sap of plants. Their white cottony coverings can reduce photosynthesis as they cover the infested area on the plant from sunlight.
They also secrete honeydew, which can further interfere with photosynthesis. Infested trees can be treated with insecticides to rid them of the bugs.
These are small insects that suck the sap of Arbutus trees. Wooly Adelgids lay their eggs covered in a white fuzzy casing. They mainly feed and reside on the leaves of the tree. They can be controlled with the use of insecticide spray or spraying with water from a hose.
Pests are not the only problems that can affect the Arbutus marina tree. As has been seen, these pests can also be the source of diseases. Some diseases can affect the tree. Here is a list.
Arbutus Marina Diseases
Fungi are the main causal agents of disease that affect the Arbutus marina tree. Fungicide being the chemical agent for controlling fungi, is most used to curb these diseases.
These are organisms similar to filamentous fungi but also related to algae. They are sometimes called water molds. They infect plant roots and can cause them to rot. In the Arbutus marina case, too much water in the soil can predispose to Phytophthora infections.
The root and the crown of the tree rot as the infection progresses. The leaves get discolored, water-soaked, and retarded in growth. Young trees may die quickly from the infection, but older ones may take longer.
The use of fungicides can help prevent Phytophthora infection. It is also important to keep the soil well-drained to discourage Phytophthora growth.
White powdery fungal growth on leaves is powdery mildew. This disease causes the leaves to become discolored, stunted and many times fall off from the tree. The powdery growth covers the leaf surface, hindering photosynthesis. Spraying with neem oil and fungicides is used to control and prevent the disease.
This is a fungal disease that can affect the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits of the Arbutus marina tree. Anthracnose is also called tree blight. The young trees are more in danger of this disease. It causes a dark lesion on the infected parts. The infected parts can be killed due to destroyed tissues.
The fungi can easily spread during water splash when rainfalls. The spores are transported to plant parts. Fungicides are the means of controlling anthracnose.
This is also a fungal disease that causes masses of yellow or orange powdery masses to form on leaves. These powdery masses are composed of fungal spores. These spores spread to other parts through wind, insects, and water.
The disease causes cankers and tissue swellings on the infected leaves. Fungicides are used to control the spread of rust on the Arbutus marina.
Care Is Important
Your Arbutus marina tree may be planted for its beauty or the fruits. Irrespective of your reason, it is necessary to take care of the tree for proper growth. The care begins from an early stage. Bear in mind the best soil condition for the tree.
Pruning comes as one of the early caregiving. Remember that this helps the plant to see more sunlight. It is crucial to keep the soil well-drained to keep Phytophthora out. When the insects come visiting, neem oil and other pesticides should come in handy.
Fungicides are the final piece of the puzzle, from prevention of rust, phytophthora, mildew, and anthracnose to treating them. The Arbutus marina tree needs all the care it can get.