News

Past Events

Madrone walk @ Swan Creek Park with Tacoma Tree Foundation in Tacoma, WA (4/23/22)

Madrone walk @ Pt. Defiance Park with Tacoma Tree Foundation in Tacoma, WA (12/18/21)

Our Spring Member Meeting took place June 3, 2021. It was another virtual event to review TreeSnap trends, briefing on expanding data collection to iNaturalist, and opportunities for collaboration and research. Presentations can be found on the Resources Page.

Pacific madrone: sacred, emergent, adaptive. A Tacoma Tree Foundation Growing Skills Webinar was January 28, 2020. Watch it on the TTF YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=begqlp9BeYc

Our Inaugural Member Meeting was November 10, 2020. It was a virtual event to hear about the latest news and research while connecting with other Arbutus ARME "members" and madrone lovers. Presentations can be found on the Resources Page.

Presentation on madrone health issues at the WSU Forestry Extension Forest Owners Winter School February 2020

Presentation at Sound Waters University on February 2020

PresentationLife and Death of Madrone in PNW Forests” through WSU Extension Forestry Webinars May 2019

In-person workshops at Camp Long in Seattle (February 2019) and Washington State University - Puyallup Station (March 2019) explored madrone basics, forest ecology, pathogens, conservation efforts and propagation

Arbutus ARME Newsletters

This semi-regular e-newsletter celebrates all-things Pacific madrone, highlighting our conservation and restoration efforts while connecting tree researchers and enthusiasts along the way. One can expect to read tree highlights, features about diseases, TreeSnap updates, madrones in the news, event anncouncements and more....

April 2022 (Spring Walks & Student Projects) | April 2021 (Flowers and Data Updates) | December 2020 (Giant Falls & Member Meeting Debrief) | September 2020 (Fire and Berries) | June 2020 (New Research) | Feb 2020 (Valentine's Day Edition) | Oct 2019 (Focus on Fruit) | Sept 2019 (Rooted in Puget Sound) | May 2019 (Living in Extremes) | April 2019 (Flowers & Pollinators!) | Feb 2019 (Propagation & Medicine) | Jan 2019 (Join the Arbutus ARME)

Madrones in the Media & Latest Literature

New madrone article: Bilir, T. E. (2022). Microclimates mediate water fluxes from vegetation (Doctoral dissertation, UC Berkeley).

Earth is the blue planet, unique in our solar system for its ability to sustain a water cycle that spans three phases: solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (water vapor). The global cycling of water between the earth’s land surface, subsurface, cryosphere, oceans, and atmosphere is fundamental to earth’s radiative balance and energy transport, and sustaining life in every ecosystem.... The primary investigation approach was a field study based at the University of California’s Angelo Coast Range Reserve in Northern California.... A cross-species comparison of transpiration between Pacific madrone and Douglas fir trees demonstrates the impact of being tall: despite operating with slower peak sap velocities over the dry season, Douglas firs consistently transpired as much or more than their Pacific madrone neighbors, thanks to a longer exposure to sunlight granted by their height (chapter 3). A cross-slope comparison of transpiration in a single species (Pacific madrone) yielded a surprise: integrated summer transpiration is higher on the drier south slope than the north slope, which has abundant rock moisture but less sunlight (chapter 4). Analysis of the Pacific madrone sap flow data from both slopes in an environmental response model emphasizes the difference between tree populations on each slope in their aggregate physiological responses to specific aspects of their environments (chapter 5)....

"Why-Would-You-Live-There-ness (Madrone)" podcast by Completely Arbortrary

"A tree that truly grows its own way, the Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) is a prolific grower and a gorgeous shower. Listen along as we discuss this curious beauty and the special place it’s found in the world. "

Completely Arbortrary is produced by Alex Crowson and Casey Clapp

Follow them on Instagram @arbortrarypod

Cover Photo - Robert Couse Baker

New book by Dr. Roy Martin A Romance with the Exotic Madrona, Alias of the Arbutus – Published February 21, 2022

Dr. Martin moved north 115 km to Fidalgo Island after he retired from the University of Washington. There he fell in love, not with another woman, but with an exquisite tree called the Madrona, Pacific Madrone, or Arbutus menziesii. This love extended to the other ten Western and Eastern Hemispheres cousins as well. This fascination grew not only for their torturous shapes, colors, seasonal changing traits, and differences but also for the immense size and age of some of the Arbutus menziesii. This book is a romance, adventure, and discovery story. Travel with him to many places in the world and in North America to learn, study, and photograph these trees. Take a mule ride up the Sierra de la Laguna to find the indigenous Madroña in Baja California. Enjoy his misadventures but also unearthing of the history, literature, images, and scientific facts of this magnificent manifestation of nature.

Research article on survival and growth in the madrone common garden trial was published in October 2021. Link and highlights below.

Kamakura, R.P., DeWald, L.E., Sniezko, R.A., Elliott, M., Chastagner, G. 2021. Using differences in abiotic factors between seed origin and provenance trial sites to predict performance of Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii Pursh). Forest Ecology and Management. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119487

Highlights

  • Transfer distance and frost-free period correlate to madrone growth and mortality.

  • Summer precipitation is only in best models of mortality at driest or wettest sites.

  • Small-scale differences in nearby common garden sites can greatly shift results.

  • Bud growth is earlier for lower latitude/elevation, drier, and colder seed sources.

  • Bud elongation date only correlates well to growth/mortality at a subset of sites.

From treehugger podcast, listen to the conversation "Madrones with Arbutus ARME" which is part audio presentation from the January 2021 Tacoma Tree Foundation Growing Skills Webinar plus expanded conversations and madrone Q & A with Marianne, Joey and Michael.

We discuss the cultural importance of the tree. Then we explore the complex interactions that happen belowground and in the canopy. We also highlight the adaptive capacity and resiliency of the species amidst climate disruption.

"Island’s stately arbutus trees wither in seasons of change" in Times Colonist by Darron Kloster

“When you see an arbutus going grey or black, that’s an advanced onset of [disease] and it’s a challenge for an arbutus to come back from that,” said Andrew Connell, an arborist with the District of Saanich.

Connell is hopeful many of the trees will bounce back.

He said if people have arbutus trees on their properties, they should water them during dry periods, reduce pruning and do what they can to reduce climate change.

"Arbutus ARME Wants You! Helps Scientists Map and Preserve the Pacific Madrone" in Arboretum Bulletin by Niall Dunne

"...Madrones are easy enough to grow—once you match them to their preferred conditions. Though Pacific madrone is part of the original native matrix of the Arboretum, many of the specimens that spontaneously appear here don’t do well—primarily because they germinate and grow in unsuitable sites with compacted or overly wet soils or too much shade. Eventually, stressed by the suboptimal conditions, they succumb to fungal problems."

"The Madrone Tree - A lot of background behind a colorful tree" in Island Histories by Rachel Baker

"While it is possible to host one in your garden, the trees are notoriously difficult to plant and support. Madrones usually rely on fungal filaments in the soil that work with surrounding organisms to aid in their growth... While madrone trees dot the shoreline all around the San Juan Islands, an exceptional place to view them up close is at Obstruction Pass State Park on Orcas Island with over one mile of public saltwater shoreline."

"Madrona to make way for bigger McDonald’s: An Oak Harbor woman hoped to save the large tree that is to be cut down for an upcoming renovation " in Whidbey News-Times by Emily Gilbert January 19, 2021

OAK HARBOR - "An Oak Harbor woman had hoped to save a large Pacific madrone tree that is slated be cut down to accommodate planned demolition and expansion of the city’s McDonald’s restaurant.

Despite being named a Tree City USA by The Arbor Foundation for the 17th year in a row, the City of Oak Harbor has no special protection in place for the native tree species, Arbutus menziesii, commonly referred to as the madrona.

Carol Johnston works as a dental hygienist in a building next to McDonald’s and has watched the tree grow for the last 14 years....

Franchise owner Barbara Johnson also confirmed that the tree will be removed, as is allowed by the city.

“McDonald’s really tried to save this tree for me,” Johnston said. “But with city codes and everything, they’re taking this tree down.”

Unlike Seattle and Coupeville, both of which have special protections for the tree in question, Oak Harbor does not. Oak Harbor’s namesake, the Garry Oak, is the only tree protected by city code."

"Ted's Tree, one of the largest in the state, dismantled" in Peninsula Daily News December 11, 2020.


PORT ANGELES — The largest madrona in the state, once a widow’s cherished memorial to the love of her life as well as a local landmark, is coming down.


The large madrona tree on Eighth Street near Cherry Street is coming down. The landmark tree has died and is considered unsafe, the property owners say.

The madrona in Ted’s Tree Park at 231 W. Eighth St. east of Cherry Street is at an estimated 400 years old considered to be one of the oldest of its kind in the state. It has a circumference of more than 21 feet and a crown spread of at least 95 feet shading more than half of West Eighth Street.

“The tree was dead,” said Arborist Travis Waddell of Pacific Northwest Tree Service on Friday.

Wood from the tree is a darker hue than the rich, reddish-orange of a healthy madrona.

“This one doesn’t really have that, as you can see,” Waddell said.

"The Pacific Madrone in the Salish Sea Ecosystem" by Gerald Young in the Salish Sea Magazine Summer 2020

..."Long known, admired, and utilized by indigenous people, the madrona was identified for Europeans in the Salish Sea area by Archibald Menzies, on May 2, 1792, on the southwest shore of Discovery Bay. Sources differ as to the exact spot Menzies walked ashore. As Highway 101 turns north along the bay’s southwestern shore, watch for the exit on the right to Old Gardiner Road. In the less than two miles on Gardiner to the Worldmark Hotel (where you can turn back onto 101), you will see lots of lovely madronas, though no massive old ones. For madrona lovers though, you’ve touched an historic place...."

Exciting undergraduate research by Madeline Clarke at Vancouver Island University is focused on trials to provide information related to growing Arbutus in a nursery setting with traditional and newer technologies that are available on the market. The objective is to establish if using a bound media plug can reduce or eliminate transplant shock symptoms and find out which type of plug is most effective in achieving the main objective. Clarke's work will answer the question: is root disturbance the main cause for transplant shock related deaths of Arbutus seedlings? Originally the plants were going to be grown in a greenhouse setting, but Clarke had to adapt the trial due to COVID-19, and will be growing them from home in an outdoor setting. She is expecting to complete the trial end of October/November 2020. Contact Madeline Clarke for more information: madelinec.clarke@live.com

Chacon, Alexander I., Alexander Baer, James K. Wheeler, and Jarmila Pittermann. "Two coastal Pacific evergreens, Arbutus menziesii, Pursh. and Quercus agrifolia, Née show little water stress during California's exceptional drought." Plos one 15, no. 4 (2020): e0230868.

A new paper related to madrone has been published by researchers at UC Santa Cruz. The researchers tracked water potential in madrone and Coast live oak in Central California during California's deep drought. Both these species are resistant to drought but employ different water use strategies based on their anatomy. Madrones have deep tap roots and diffuse-porous wood anatomy. This allows water to move efficiently through small and dense vessels, which the researchers said provides a 'hydraulic safety margin.' Another great reason why it's a winner!


"You Say Madrona, I Say Madrone" by Chris Rurik from March 1, 2020 in Key Peninsula News

While the Key Peninsula’s hillsides collapse under rain that reveals how we’re all just sitting on a mass of mud, on certain shorelines and exposed slopes grow trees that stand out no matter how deep the mist and murk become — madronas.... Read More

Trees of Peninsula Park

by Maura De Lorenzo from May 24, 2020 in Seeing Trees PDX Blog

"And only five species native to the PNW are found within the park, the majority being Douglas fir with 124 stands. The other native species include ... Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone)"

Our Favorite Places on Earth: Sucia Island State Park, Washington

by Kristin Smith from April 22, 2020 in Backpacker Magazine

"Just south of the Straits of Georgia and the sea border with Canada, a horseshoe-shaped island—and state park—rises in waves of sandstone and madrone from the Pacific."

How to refresh your outdoor space, and keep your sanity, when you’re stuck at home

by Nia Martin from March 18, 2020 in Seattle Times

"For larger spaces... the Northwest natives of...evergreen huckleberry and the Pacific madrone tree, all of which thrive in partial to full sun...."

The Living Landscape: Beautiful Boggs Ridge Nature Trail

by Kathleen Scavone from January 12, 2020 in Lake County News

"Plants that thrive up on Boggs include white fir, Douglas fir, California fescue, California bay laurel, coffeeberry, sugar pine, Pacific madrone...."