|The largest and most well-developed tree is shown in the rear of this picture. The smaller tree sits next to a "snorkel spa," used as a storage bin for garden furnishings until my husband gets around to converting it into something more useful.|
|Back view of the largest tree|
|The other large Arbutus Marina, located on the southwest side of the property|
The trees have beautiful ornamental bark.
They flower throughout the year with the heaviest flower production occurring in the fall and the spring. Hummingbirds are attracted to the light pink, urn-shaped flowers.
The flowers are followed by fruit that turns orange, then red. At this time of year, the fruits that fall from the tree look like miniature orange pumpkins. The birds seem to prefer the fruits when they turn red and become soft. The squirrels, which eat everything else in the yard, appear to ignore these fruits completely.
Arbutus 'Marina' is drought tolerant once established. It grows up to 50 feet tall and nearly as wide. It's hardy in USDA zones 7-9 (Sunset zones 8, 9 and 14-24). It's said to be susceptible to Sudden Oak Death root rot (phytopthora ramorum), a condition I dread as it killed an Arbutus unedo at our last house seemingly overnight. One half of a dual-trunked tree on our current property also died off suddenly shortly after we moved in. I had concerns that it may have been infected; however, as the other half is still hanging in there a year after the dead half was cut away, I'm hopeful that I was wrong as to the source of the problem (although the trunk's cracks and gray coloration make me wonder if I need to consult an arborist).
|Half this tree was cut back to the stump after it died suddenly|
San Marcos Growers has an excellent write-up on Arbutus 'Marina,' including the history of its arrival in the U.S. You can find this summary here.
This is my contribution to the weekly meme sponsored by Loree of danger garden. You can find Loree's favorite plant of the week here, as well as links to other contributors' favorite selections.