The strawberry tree is a superb shrub with evergreen foliage belonging to the Ericaceae family. The tree is present primarily in the Mediterranean region and Western Europe. His scientific name is Arbutus Unedo, but gardeners refer to it as the strawberry tree due to the resemblance of its fruits to strawberries. The tree can reach a height of 10 feet and is quite rustic as it can live even in extreme cold conditions. For example, the tree can resist a temperature as low as -10 ° C.
The strawberry tree flourishes during autumn. It grows white nectar-rich bell flowers that look just like those of Lily of the valley. Yellow fruits start to grow in the following autumn which is quite interesting: In this same period, the tree has both flowers and fruits. When they mature, berries become red and fleshy. They are comestible and rich in vitamin C and polyphenol. Their interesting antioxidant attributes and their high caloric content make of them an excellent food. They are also rich in fiber.
Planting the strawberry tree
Planting a strawberry tree is an important step in its life. After a first planting phase at a horticulturist or a nurseryman, your plant is about to discover a new environment.
We recommend to plant the Arbutus Unedo during autumn, but you can also plant it during spring as long as you avoid freeze periods and you make sure to water it regularly in the following year.
Follow these steps for optimal planting conditions:
First, crumble the part of the soil you will be planting in so that you make sure it doesn’t contain any stones or pieces of wood. Then remove the shrub from its initial pot and softly scratch the roots to separate them from one another. Make a large and deep hole. Put some soil and compost or some organic amendment in the bottom of the hole then put the shrub right in the middle. Fill the hole with soil. Water well your plant and finally pack the soil.
Optimal conditions for the strawberry tree
Keep in mind that the strawberry tree lives better in organically rich earth. Also, you should expose the plant to the sun. Semi-shade is ok but the plant would grow slower. The optimal temperature is generally between 10 and 6°C, but as we said earlier, the tree can also live even under extreme cold conditions. Concerning irrigation, the strawberry does not need much water. Water it once a week during summer and once every two weeks during winter.
Trimming your tree is paramount. It enhances its development and flourishing. When you master the basic gestures, trimming transforms from a hard and constraining task to a pleasurable activity. Of course, we don’t trim all the plants in the same way. In fact, it depends on how long they keep their foliage, whether permanently or not.
The strawberry tree is an evergreen plant, meaning it keeps its foliage year-round. In this case, you should perform trimming in a certain way. This is how you do it.
At the end of winter, during the month of March, begin by giving the tree its general shape. In the beginning of summer, it is appropriate to reshape your plant by taking off the branches you consider too long or disproportionate. In autumn, pay attention not to cut the bigger branches as a severe trimming may weaken the shrub before freezing periods.
Strawberry tree’s health
The strawberry tree sometimes catches a disease called Didymosporium arbuticola Zeller. You can recognize it by the brown spot on your tree leaves. This fungus can contaminate the whole foliage if you don’t take necessary steps. As a way of prevention, in the end of winter, spray some Bordeaux mixture (a well-known fungicide) 2 to 3 times every 2 weeks. If fungus has already hit the tree, take off the ill leaves and burn them or throw them away from other vegetation in order to avoid contamination.