Magnificant Manzanitas - Notes


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Magnificant Manzanitas - Notes

  1. 1. 1/6/2013Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden Magnificent Manzanitas C.M. Vadheim and T. Drake CSUDH & Madrona Marsh Preserve Gardening with Western L.A. County Native Plants Madrona Marsh Preserve Project SOUND – 2011 (our 7th year) December 3 & 6, 2011 © Project SOUND © Project SOUND The genus Arctostaphylos Why do people fall in love with Manzanitas?  In the Heath family (Ericaceae)  Showy, sweet-smelling flowers in  Includes the Manzanitas and winter/early spring Bearberries, blueberries  Evergreen foliage  Manzanitas occur in the chaparral of western North America, from  Red bark southern British Columbia through much of northern and  Interesting, architectural growth central Mexico. patterns  The three species of Bearberries  Edible fruits/medicinal leaves have adapted to arctic and subarctic climates, and have a  Attracts hummingbirds, native circumpolar distribution in bees & butterflies northern North America, Asia  Because they’re rare in the wilds and Europe.  Because they are a part of California’s unique wild heritage © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 1
  2. 2. 1/6/2013 Whatever the reason, people want to include Success with manzanitas begins with choosing manzanitas in their gardens…. the best species or cultivar for your conditions And that can be a challenge for those of us living in western L.A. county © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Tailor the manzanita to your conditions Many species require well-drained soils (rather than the other way around)  Soil conditions:  Soil texture/Drainage  Texture/drainage  pH Soil type Approximate time  Size: height & width/spread to drain  Growth pattern/speed Hard-pan or days sodic soils  Light/temperature Clay 3-12 hours  Water regimen Loam 20-60 minutes  dig hole 1 ft x 1 ft  Aesthetics: Sandy Loam 10-30 minutes  fill with water and let drain Sand cant fill the hole,  fill hole again, measure drains too fastFortunately, there are more than forty species of Arctostaphylos in time for water to drainCalifornia not to mention all the cultivars, subspecies and hybrids. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 2
  3. 3. 1/6/2013 Many manzanitas like a slightly acidic soil So, you really should test your soil pH if you want to grow manzanitas  Most manzanitas originate in areas with  A simple garden soil pH test kit more acidic soil due to: is adequate for the job – no need  Higher rainfall for fancy equipment  Effects of  If your soil is Alkaline (pH > 7.5) chaparral/woodland consider planting in a large pot plants  If your soil is neutral or slightly  The rock material from acid (pH 6.0 – 7.5) choose which the soils were manzanitas that like a slightly derived acid soil and use an organic mulch  Our local garden soils  If your soil is acid (pH 5.0-5.9) tend to range from 6.5 you can plant even those that to 7.5 – and some may be planting-season-part-5-conducting-a-soil-test/ need acidic soils as high as 7.8+Soils under pine trees and oaks will be more acidic © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Can’t I just amend my soil to lower the pH? Size matters: most Manzanitas eventually  Actually, it’s not that easy: want to grow to their natural size  Takes a lot of effort to lower soils pH – and you have to keep doing it because pH keeps ↑  Acid fertilizers also increase the soil N levels – often too high for CA native plants  Chemical amendments: oratingAmendments.aspx If you’re acidifying 1000 sq ft of  sulfur or iron/ammonium/ soil with sulfur, a 1.0 change in aluminum sulfate pH (from 7.5 to 6.5) requires 11 pounds of the product for sandy  Natural amendments: pine straw; soil and 23 pounds for claylike soil. oak leaf mold  ? Coffee grounds/acid compost © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 3
  4. 4. 1/6/2013Manzanita species grow from < six inches (some coastal species) to twenty feet tall (many interior species). Don’t forget the width Arctostaphylos rudis "Burton Beauty Manzanita". A. refugioensis &return=s_aP © Project SOUND © Project SOUND The right plant, grown correctly, will live for more Let’s say you want to replace an old tree than 100 years (especially the larger forms). with a large manzanita © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 4
  5. 5. 1/6/2013 Bigberry Manzanita:Big Berry Manzanita – Arctostaphylos glauca shrub or tree  Easy-care shrub for slopes; good for erosion control  Specimen shrub; needs little pruning  As a small shade tree  As a key shrub/tree for the habitat garden: bees, butterflies, birds, humans© 2008 Gary A. Monroe © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Why choose Manzanita cultivars? Arctostaphylos glauca  Because they have better size, ‘Los Angeles’ shape, color, etc.  Source plant: originally in  Because they often are better the area of Mullholland adapted to garden conditions (and Hwy. and Kanan Rd. therefore more likely to thrive in your garden)  Smooth red bark and clean shiny foliage with pink-  Garden tolerance - cultivars are white flowers make the often more tolerant of: plant quite attractive.  A little extra water  Soils that are not perfectly  Locally native – tolerates drained sandy soils of western L.A.  Heat and cold County  Salinity and higher pH © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 5
  6. 6. 1/6/2013 Arctostaphylos glauca Arctostaphylos glauca ‘Frazier Park’ ‘Margarita Pearl’  From Frazier Park/ Mt. Pinos region ~ 5000 ft.  ? Big Berry manzanita (glauca) or a hybrid between A. glauca  The form is low/dense and A. wellsii for a Big Berry Manzanita.  Very large flowers and berries – good for edibles garden  Foliage is pale green, a glaucous green, making it  Foliage is a bright grey on new appear whitish-bluish - growth and dull grey on old beautiful accent plant in a growth – lovely color garden. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Arctostaphylos glauca Arctostaphylos ‘Ramona’ ‘Canyon Blush’  From San Vicente/Ramona area  Arctostaphylos glauca hybrid from a chance seedling in the (San Diego Co.) Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.  Red bark, a very open form,  Red-flushed new foliage and clean glossy foliage. The plant blush pink flowers looks almost artificial  4’ tall by 20 ft wide; climbing/  Use as a specimen with lower trailing form green manzanitas and ceanothi  Quite effective as a sprawling, under it, or as an elegant eight large-scale groundcover, or to ten foot hedge in a chaparral cascading down a slope. planting.  Use drip irrigation in place of  Ok in soils of pH 7.8, and overhead watering to reduce might even be ok in pH 8. spread of this disease. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 6
  7. 7. 1/6/2013 Allelopathy: chemical warfare in the garden Common Manzanita – Arctostaphylos manzanita  Chaparral plants tend to ‘exclude’ other plants:  Shading or crowding out  Producing chemicals that are toxic to plants or seedlings  Some common trees/large shrubs that practice chemical warfare: Manzanitas/Bearberries   Walnuts  Oaks  Sycamore  California Bay laurel  Cottonwood  Non-natives like Forsythia, Tree-of-heaven, Black locust and Eucalyptus © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Common Manzanita – Arctostaphylos manzanita Common Manzanita: large size  Central & northern California - Contra Costa  Size: County north to Humboldt, Trinity, and Shasta counties; and from the foothills of the Sierra  6-12+ ft tall – as tall as 20’ Nevada in Shasta County south to Mariposa  4-10 ft wide County.  Growth form:  On ‘dry’, well-drained, sunny sites in Ponderosa shrub forest, California mixed evergreen  Large evergreen shrub/small tree forest, Northern oak woodlands, Chaparral,  Open, upright habit – many long Montane chaparral twisted trunks give it an,3454,3492 umbrella-like shape  Peeling red-brown bark  Foliage:  Bright green to slightly blue- green  Leaves simple, rounded © 2009 John Malpas © 1994 David Graber © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 7
  8. 8. 1/6/2013Most manzanitas like  Soils:  Texture: any with very good Why do garden manzanitas need a well-drained soil? well-drained soils drainage  pH: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) ; may need to amend or use  It’s what they are adapted mulch to acidify (pine needles; to (root system anatomy) oak leaves)  Light:  It keeps you/Mother Nature  Full sun (coast) to part-shade – from over-watering even under tall pines  Winter rain events can ‘drown’  Water: plants in standing  Winter: adequate/supplement water/water-logged soils  Summer: occasional water is  Too much summer rain best – 1-3 times per summer promotes fungal diseases to (Zone 1-2) Best away from the coast; which manzanitas are likes cooler winters  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils susceptible  Other: use an organic mulch; pine needles are great! © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Watering Manzanitas: a few pointers Then modify according to your conditions  Look to the plant’s natural  Temperature climate as a starting point:  Soil characteristics  Lots of rain yearly – some  Wind, fog and other species from very N. coast climatic differences  Deeper/more frequent winter morroensis-park-view-manzanita rains – higher elevation chaparral & woodlands  Summer monsoons in August – San Diego county species  Significant summer fog – species from the central and northern CA coast © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 8
  9. 9. 1/6/2013 Watering manzanitas: some tips Planting and establishing manzanitas  Be sure that ‘expert advice’ is appropriate for your area  The best time to plant is in the Fall to early Winter, when soils are moist.  Use conventional drip irrigation only to get plants  Treat manzanitas as 1 full Water Zone above their final Zone for the first 2 summers. This will often be either Zone started the first year 2 or 2-3 (watering every 7-14 days).  Use soaker hoses, soaker-drip  Water as the soil starts to dry. Inspect the soil down a few or a plain old hose for deep, inches to get a true idea of sub-surface moisture. Moisture occasional water of meters are an inexpensive and effective way to check out the established plants amount of water in the soil.  Only use overhead spray for  By 3rd summer decrease to ½ Zone above final Zone. coastal species that need a  Ultimately, in about 3-5 years, your manzanitas, can take fake ‘fog spray’ their final zone - may become independent of your care. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Treat as a shrub or tree Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘Byrd Hill’  As a shade tree  As an exotic accent  Naturally occurring variant  As a large foundation shrub  On dry slopes  A more compact version of A. manzanita (8-10 H x 8 W)  For habitat value  Upright; nice sculpted form.  Very drought tolerant. No summer water (or just 1-2 times per summer – Zone 1-2) once established  Excellent for wildlife. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 9
  10. 10. 1/6/2013 Arctostaphylos manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’ Arctostaphylos manzanita x A. densiflora ‘Austin Griffiths’ Manzanita  To 15’ tall & wide; fast grower  More garden tolerant: some summer  Hybrid: Arctostaphylos densiflora water, richer soil, than Arctostaphylos Sentinel X Arctostaphylos manzanita glauca Dr. Hurd  Tolerates clay or sandy soils  Tall open shape with bright foliage &  Tree or shrub form – your choice pink flowers of A. densiflora  Reliable drought-tolerant plant in our  8-10 ft tall; 6-8 ft wide area  Sandy soils best; clay ok  Good for habitat hedges/dry hedgerows © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Manzanita hybrids – more all the time! Large Manzanitas: are they trees or shrubs?  Are a cross between two species  Can occur in the wilds – and do –  That’s debatable but many species never come in  Some native shrubby contact in the wilds species - mainly those  Hybrids occur readily in the native to California - garden setting – manzanita species certainly reach tree size. are ‘promiscuous’  However, they generally  Some hybrids combine the best branch or fork near the traits of both parents (‘hybrid ground, thus lacking the cultivars’) single trunk of a tree. Arctostaph​ylos Bird Hill and Lyonothamn​us  Impact on wild populations – a real planifolia both have open ‘tree-like’ growth  ? ‘multi-trunk small tree’ habit that allow them to be ‘pruned up’ into potential problem (but not in lower small ‘trees’. ‘Austin Griffiths’ Manzanita elevation western L.A. county) © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 10
  11. 11. 1/6/2013 Most Manzanitas look good throughout their ‘Dr. Hurd’ grows up lifespan – even without pruning to be a tree © 2008 Dr. Amadej Trnkoczy blooming-manzanitas.html At four years © Project SOUND ‘Dr. Hurd’ at 5 years trees © Project SOUND Pruning to shape – tree-like forms Start by choosing the right species – and the right plant  Judicious shaping is possible.  The trick seems to be not to act too soon - until you can get a feel for the form the plant is taking - or too late, which would leave large pruning scars on the smooth, red bark. ‘Howard McMinn’ ‘Sunset’ ‘Howard McMinn’ © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 11
  12. 12. 1/6/2013 Mother Nature trumps  Prune manzanitas only in Above all, do no harm warm, dry weather, to guard against diseases  Most manzanitas are not fostered by cold and going to have a single leader damp. (a single dominant trunk that starts at the ground and extends through the tree).  Don’t stress the plant by over-pruning:  Trying to get that kind of  If its young plant, remove no more than about 25% of tree will probably not be wise its leaf / volume. – work with the natural shape  Limit pruning of older plants to 10% to 15%. You can always do more next year. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Can manzanitas be Prune purposively used in hedges &  If removing a branch or hedgerows? trunk will improve the shape, remove it before it gets too big (< 1.5 inches is good).  Consider pinching small ‘Austin Griffiths’ branch tips to redirect growth upward - pinching to an upward facing bud.  Most manzanitas wont form new leaves on a branch if you cut off the part of it that had leaves, so think hard before you cut. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 12
  13. 13. 1/6/2013 Pointleaf Manzanita – Arctostaphylos pungens Pointleaf Manzanita – Arctostaphylos pungens  Foothills & mtns of the U.S. Southwest and NW Mexico – 2500-8000 ft.  Locally: San Gabriel & San Bernardino Mtns.  Rocky slopes, ridges, in a_id=1&taxon_id=250092319 chaparral, coniferous forest bin/,3454,3522 © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Pointleaf Manzanita: variable over its range Manzanitas are primarily chaparral plants  Size:  3-10 ft tall – often 3-6 ft  Environmental  3-8 ft wide – often 3-6 ft  Higher total moisture  Growth form:  Rain & snow  Evergreen shrub/small tree  May also have summer rains  Upright, open habit  Wider temperature extremes  Smooth, red-brown peeling bark  More natural mulch  In nature may grow in dense thickets  Growth patterns  Foliage:  Evergreen  Thick, leathery leaves  Longer growth season – spring through summer  Shiny wax coating  May have growth/flowering after summer rains  Produces volatile chemicals –  Role of fire: essential for many species helps to burn  Roots: shallow, fibrous © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 13
  14. 14. 1/6/2013  Manzanitas contain a high percentage Manzanitas and fire of volatile compounds, which burn like If you need to worry about fire: choices a torch when ignited.  They also carry a large amount of dead wood, making them all the more  Plant something other than a flammable. manzanita Manzanita can act as a ladder fuel in   Plant species from Northern landscapes, especially when planted adjacent to flammable structures such CA or cultivars that can take as homes, decks, fences, and trees. a little more water; then Ladder fuels carry fire from the water them ground where it can be controlled toTough seed coats and sprouting treetops where it is difficult toroots/ burls are manzanita control.  Choose Bearberries, whichadaptations to life with fire are not so flammable but  Flame lengths of manzanita can reach eight times the height of the shrub have the ‘manzanita look’ (i.e. a five foot tall manzanita can generate a 40 foot flame). © Project SOUND © Project SOUND Flowers and fruits Growing Manzanita from seed: difdicult  Blooms:  Very difficult to germinate: have  Winter to early spring – in our both a hard seedcoat and embryo area may be as early as dormancy Nov/Dec.  In nature, manzanita seeds germinate  Provide needed winter color, following fire. Fire provides exposure nectar to heat/smoke and seedbed  Flowers: preparation.  Typical for the genus: small,  To mimic this natural process, some white (pink blush) urn-shaped propagators sow seeds in a flat  Fruits: (wooden flat covered with aluminum  Small (1/4 inch) foil) and burn a 3-4 inch layer of pine  Ripen to showy red in summer; needles on top of the seedbed. retained through fall  Seeds may take a year to germinate.  Vegetative reproduction: natural Once seedlings germinate, they are layering transplanted to nursery containers. © Project SOUND © Project SOUND 14