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Strawberry Tree

ConfusedbubblesConfusedbubbles Posts: 1
edited December 2022 in Problem solving

I live in the Pacific Northwest, and about 12 years ago planted a “dwarf” strawberry tree.  I have two issues:
1) Each winter there are thousands of “pearls” appearing, which should eventually mature into the bright red fruit.  However, I’ve had less than FIVE mature “strawberries” during the plant’s 12-year life span.   Each year, the pearls simply turn brown, wilt, and drop.
I know they can be grown in this region, 
because The Univ. of Washington has several of these trees, 40’ tall, which produce massive amounts of fruit.  
2) The past two seasons I’ve noticed sections of leaves in which an entire branch of them die.  They’re generally in bundles in the center or outer edges that receive less light.  The “bundling” nature of the problem makes me think this is the sign of a nutrient or disease problem vs. lack of sunlight.  
Just purchased some Bonide Copper Fungicide for my Apple trees and am considering it for my unhappy Strawberry Tree. 


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,854
    edited December 2022
    Welcome to the forum.
    Strawberry Trees - Arbutus - are popular in gardens locally.
    I have seen similar die-back on some of them over the years now and then.
    It seems to be worse during dry summers so maybe it's related to insufficient water.

    My neighbour has one that looked similar a few years ago. They cut out the dead bits and put a couple of bags of rotted manure at the base in spring,kept it well watered and it has recovered well with plenty of fruits in the summer.

    Another possibility is fungal leaf spot - but I can't see much in the way of spots on your shrub.

    PS - what lives in the little house at the base of your tree?
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,532
    What a beautiful specimen, if no longer dwarf! Given the shrivelling fruit I too suspect summer drought/lack of water, although that can also happen in cold, hard winters if you get those.. similarly the leaf senescence could be caused by either extreme or just drying winds. Conditions can vary enormously even from block to block so even though the Uni grows them successfully their environment could be very different. It looks really healthy and happy though, apart from the fruiting issue.

    They grow and fruit profusely in the wild in my location among the evergreen oak forests where the leaf litter is deep and there is a good amount of moisture in the ground. So Pete’s suggestion of a good deep water and organic mulch would be the first thing I would try too.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,059
    I agree your micro climate plays a big part in how plants will grow and cope with conditions.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • Looking at the location where the tree is growing, there is a lot of impenetrable tarmac and concrete so for a tree of that size, I think the above comments are right. Lack of water and nutrients. My daughter inherited one, growing on top of a stone wall, halfway up a steeply sloping garden area. They live in a sheltered valley which can be a frost pocket, but the tree is in full sun and obviously, because of the slope it is very well drained but the tree is thriving. 
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