One of the most well-liked hybrid trees for use in landscaping is the arbutus ‘Marina,’ also known as the strawberry tree. The distinctive bark, evergreen leaves, pendulous clusters of blooms, and tasty fruits are some of the reasons why gardeners like this plant. The fruits, on the other hand, have a rather rough texture, which may turn off some people, particularly youngsters. It has a similar aesthetic aspect to the Pacific madrone, which is a relative native of the West Coast and another attractive addition to the cultivated landscape. However, the Pacific madrone is slightly bigger.
Arbutus Marina Tree Classification
Over a dozen evergreen broadleaf trees of remarkable beauty and individuality belong to the genus Arbutus. These trees are native to the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, Western Europe, the Canary Islands, and parts of North America, ranging from the West Coast to the dry lands of the Southwestern region. There are other plant species that go by the popular name “strawberry tree.” The most common of these is the A. unedo, which is native to southern and western Europe and is thought to be one of the parents of the A. ‘Marina’ variety.
According to San Marcos Growers, the exact origin of the A. ‘Marina’ strawberry tree is unknown, and its lineage is clouded by natural hybridizations that occur between Old World species. For instance, the A. ‘Marina’ strawberry tree may have descended from the naturally occurring cross between the A. unedo and the A. andrachne, the Greek strawberry tree, which is known as A. x andrachnoides.
Description of Arbutus Varieties
Strawberry trees may grow up to 30 or 40 feet in height, but most of them are much less than that. Because the plant grows so slowly, it is a wonderful option for a variety of garden settings because of its adaptability and versatility. It has the same bright orange-red bark as other arbutus trees, and it peels off in a pleasing way to expose the smooth interior layers of the tree. The bark of the tree itself, as well as the sprays of pale pink flowers and crimson berries, provide a beautiful contrast to the dark green, rubbery leaves that resemble rhododendrons that grow on it. The plant blooms and produces fruit continuously throughout the year, with peak output often occurring in the spring and fall.
Strawberry Tree Cultivation
According to StrawberryPlants.org, the strawberry tree thrives in the plant hardiness zones 3 through 10 of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Plant it in a location that gets full sun or partial shade and has enough drainage; much like other species in the genus, the strawberry tree may perish or develop root rot if it is allowed to lie in soil that is too moist for an extended period of time, so take care not to overwater it. Because of the weight of its evergreen foliage, freshly planted strawberry trees with a single trunk should be secured with stakes, especially in places that are prone to high winds. Keep in mind that the tree will produce a significant number of fruit that will fall on the ground. This might be a problem if the tree is located near sidewalks or patios.
Native “Strawberry Tree”
The stunning native “strawberry tree” of the West Coast is known scientifically as A. menziesii, although it is more often referred to as Pacific madrone. The Pacific madrone is native to the coast, interior valleys, foothills, and low-elevation mountain landscapes from British Columbia to Baja California. It has the potential to reach heights of 100 feet and a substantial girth; the size, often twisted form, and the characteristic peeling orange-red bark make this an exceptionally impressive tree.
Gardeners who are interested in the strawberry tree should research the possibility of growing the native madrone, despite the fact that A. menziesii is often more challenging to establish. It grows in Sunset’s Climate Zones 4 through 7 and 14 through 24, and it has a strong preference for sunny locations that have excellent drainage. Savannas, open woods, and chaparral are among of its natural habitats.