How to plant and cultivate the strawberry tree?

How to plant and cultivate the strawberry tree?

The characteristics of the strawberry tree

  • Type: fruit shrub
  • Height: 1 to 2 m, 2 to 5 m, 5 to 10 m
  • Flower colors: white, pink
  • Fruit name: arbutus
  • Desired exposure: sunny, semi-shaded
  • Type of soil: normal, well drained, acidic
  • Foliage: persistent
  • Vegetation: perennial
  • Interview: moderate watering, easy to maintain
  • sanitizer: no
  • variety: Arbutus unedo, Arbutus x andrachnoides, Arbutus unedo Compacta, Arbutus unedo Rubra

Origins and peculiarities of the strawberry tree

Coming from the ericaceous family,arbutus (arbutus) is a fruit tree often called a strawberry tree because of the small red fruits it produces. The genus arbutus has a little more than a dozen species which come mainly from Mexico, North America, the Mediterranean, France, Spain and Ireland.

Visually, we recognize the strawberry tree by its specific shape, since it is made up of several trunks which meet and which allow the tree to reach a height of 10 to 15 m when it grows in its natural environment. Its branches, very tortuous, are covered with a bark which seems covered with brown scales, and its foliage is of a superb deep and shiny green. Its flowers, pink or white, resemble heather flowers. The interesting habit of the strawberry tree makes it both a fruit tree and an ornamental tree that can be used in hedges for its smallest varieties.

The fruit of the strawberry tree, thearbutus, is a fairly fleshy berry which changes from orange to red, and which can easily be identified with the small spikes that line its skin. In terms of taste, the flesh of the arbutus is rather sweet and tart, and is eaten more cooked than raw.

Uses of arbutus

Arbutus are fruits which, in the kitchen, can be used to make:

  • Jams,
  • Compotes;
  • Fruit in syrup,
  • Some wine,
  • Liqueurs (like most fruits).

In addition, we often ignore it but the arbutus roots have hypotensive properties (they help fight hypertension). The arbutus also has anti-diarrheal virtues which are no longer to be demonstrated.

Arbutus plantation

The strawberry tree is a fairly rustic tree which can withstand temperatures down to -15 ° C. In terms of location, it will thrive best in well-drained, rather acidic soil, and preferably in a sunny or semi-shaded location.

Be sure to plant your tree rather in the spring or at the end of the summer season.

Arbutus maintenance

Good news: the strawberry tree is a practical and economical tree that requires little maintenance. Indeed, if the tree has been planted in optimal conditions, it will not need any fertilizer and it will not require any watering after its first year of installation since its roots will seek deeply the water which it needs. .

To protect it from frost in winter, it is enough to cover the soil with straw and / or dead leaves.

Strawberry tree size

In order to keep it reasonable in size and a pretty shape - especially if it is cultivated to form hedges -, the strawberry tree can be pruned slightly each spring preferably, or in the fall.

Strawberry tree diseases and pests

The most famous disease of the strawberry tree is septoria. It is a fungus that causes brown spots on the leaves of the tree. It is necessary to treat the foliage so as not to see the disease develop too much. It is also necessary to get rid of fallen leaves so that they do not promote a proliferation of the fungus over several years.

Arbutus trees can also sometimes be attacked by aphids, which you can get rid of by spraying the leaves of the tree with a mixture of water and black soap.