Arbutus Unedo is an evergreen fruit tree known as the strawberry tree, named for the numerous edible red fruits that it bears. The fermented berries are sometimes used to make alcoholic drinks and may even lead to some intoxicated wildlife stumbling about your yard! The bright red berries combined with dark green glossy foliage make the strawberry tree a functional ornamental. Before it fruits, the strawberry tree bears honey-scented pale pink to white flowers. These flowers are rich with nectar. Aside from its own inherent beauty, this lovely plant will often attract bees, butterflies and birds to your landscape. In turn, these visitors can help pollinate both your strawberry tree(s) and surrounding plants. This may mean increased yields of certain crops. Arbutus is recommended for zones 7-10 and prefers full sun. It is known to grow between 20 and 30 feet, and grows rather bushy and wide with multiple gnarly trunks. Allow plenty of room for expansion. You can even use this plant for cover from neighbors as you would a hedge.
Growing Information: Arbutus seeds are best off being exposed to 4 weeks of cold stratification. You can accomplish this by planting the seeds outside in early spring or by putting the seeds in the fridge for 4 weeks. Before that, you should put them in some type of moist medium such as a damp paper towel, moist rockwool or even moist sand. Seeds should eventually be planted at a depth of 1/8?. Arbutus Unedo will tolerate a wide range of soil, including alkaline, chalky soils. But ideally the oil you choose should be well-draining with plenty of humus. Choose a spacious area in full sun as your final spot. Young plants may need to be protected for the first winter. Also, be sure to keep the plant from being exposed to strong winds that can damage trees and ruin the fruit set. Arbutus trees do not require any special fertilizers or irrigation. Other than the optional pruning, there is not much that is required to do once the plant is established.
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