The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Madrona Trees

Question: I live on a bluff overlooking the ocean on Vancouver Island and would like to have an arbutus (madrona) tree. I have tried to transplant a wild tree and was unsuccessful. I have not seen any in the local nurseries. Is there a special proceedure I can follow to ensure success?

Answer: Digging and transplanting native plants is rarely successful. It's also illegal in certain places, unless, of course, you're transplanting from and to your own property. Part of the problem with relocating native plants is that they have overcome great odds to grow where they're growing. Usually they put down extremely deep roots - as opposed to the short roots of container grown plants. This is to keep them going in periods of drought and neglect by Mother Nature. If you really want to try to transplant a madrona, find a small one and dig very deeply to ensure you get all of the roots. Or, try the following nurseries to see what they stock and whether they can ship to you:
Frosty Hollow, Box 53, Langley, WA 98260 (206) 221-2332. Or Northwest Natives, 915 Davis Pl. S., Seattle, WA 98144 (206) 329-5804. Good luck with your search!

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