Pacific Madrone Tree
Perhaps the most iconic and beloved tree of the Pacific Coast, the Pacific Madrone Tree has captured the hearts of Northwesterners for thousands of years. With its gorgeous exfoliating red bark, muscular trunks, gorgeous evergreen leaves and white lantern-like flowers, the Pacific Madrone is a tree that has something going for it in all seasons. Much like the closely related Strawberry Tree, Pacific Madrone fruits can be eaten fresh or made into jams, though they are not particularly flavorful on their own.
Despite being such a gorgeous native tree, you don’t often see the native madrone available in nurseries or being planted around town because they are nearly impossible to transplant. Out of all the species in the Arbutus genus our native Madrone might be the most finicky of them all. Not only does it despise root disturbance but summer water will also bring about its demise due to soil borne fungi rotting its roots if given water during warm weather. A truly Mediterranean species, it is best to plant as early in the season as possible when its roots can get established in the cool weather, and preferably plant in very well draining soil. Water only in the early morning and due so sparingly and only for the first season in the ground. After that leave it alone completely.
*We sell the Pacific Madrone in limited quantities and offer no guarantee on transplant success. Recommended only for growers with very dry summers and likely restricted to the West Coast.*
Latin Name: Arbutus menziesii
Site and Soil: Pacific Madrone prefers 1/2 day to full sun and well-drained soil.
Pollination Requirements: Self-fertile
Hardiness: Hardy to at least 0F, possibly lower
Bearing Age: 3-4 years after planting
Size at Maturity: 20-70 ft. in height
Pests & Diseases: Arbutus black spot has been seen effecting some populations in the Northwest, a disease imported on nursery stock from Europe
USDA Zone: 7