Tag Archives: arbutus unedo

Strawberry Tree vs Urban Deer


arbutus unedo flower in autumn, strawberry tree, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  • They’re evergreen – that’s a big plus in my book.
  • They have pretty little flower clumps – a 2nd season for interest.  That’s another plus.
arbutus unedo berry in autumnstrawberry tree, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins
  •  They even have edible fruit!  Well, it’s not tasty, but it is edible.  And dangling strawberry-like fruit hanging from a shrub is funky – a 3rd season of interest.

That’s 3 plus signs!  They seemed a perfect choice for my shrub border.

  • They’d give the yard some privacy from the street.
  • They wouldn’t be too tall to interfere with utility lines overhead.

I had to have one! Okay, 3 – because they’re so cool.

  • It turns out the deer think strawberry trees are cool, too.  And delicious.
arbutus unedo protected from deer
photo by SVSeekins

For the bushes to survive & grow to any height, I resorted to protecting them with stucco wire.  It’s worked well.  Instead of being deer pruned, knee height, struggling little bushes, they’ve grown over my head in just a couple of years.

I think they’re kind of pretty. And the dangling strawberries are definitely funky. But the ‘protective custody’ sort of ruins the ‘nature at it’s finest’ vibe.

arbutus unedo - no protective cage
photo by SVSeekins

I removed the wire protection from the 3rd tree this summer. An experiment.

Strawberry Tree vs. Urban Deer.

Blooms only on the top section.

Fullness trimmed out of the lower section.

My guess is that the deer can only reach so high while they’re helping out with the pruning.

Now the experiment continues with crossed fingers.  Hopefully, the deer will leave some of the lower branches though the winter.  Otherwise, this strawberry tree might end up being shaped a little less like a shrub, and a little more like a tree.

There’s a word for that, isn’t there?  A standard?


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