The Q&A Archives: Marina Arbutus

Question: I am considering planting a tree in my front lawn and there is a lot of clay in our soil. Trees that have been suggested are a pink melaleuka, a marina arbutus and a peppermint willow. I would like an interesting multiple trunk tree and at this point am more inclined to attempt to find the arbutus. Can you please tell me the pros and cons of each tree and how well you think each will do in our lawn. Also can you advise where I could locate the arbutus in my area. Thank you.

Answer: Landscape trees are often chosen on the basis of their size and appearance, with little thought given to their growing requirements. You're wise in choosing three possibilities and eliminating those that won't be happy in a grassy area. Most lawns are watered on a regular basis, but not all trees appreciate as much water as turfgrass requires. When planting a tree in a lawn, consider the amount of shade the tree will eventually cast over the lawn. Shady areas are sometimes difficult areas in which to grow grass. Melaleuca is native to Australia, has a multiple-growing habit, but prefers soil on the dry side. It's probably not a good choice for a lawn area. Marina Arbutus does not generally produce multiple trunks. It prefers dry soil and probably wouldn't be happy in a turfgrass area that receives a lot regular water. This leads us to Salix (willow). Willows thrive in moist soils - ample water will make them quite happy. Given the three preferences, willow is your best choice.

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