Picture Snob

December 31, 2010

Celebrating the Madrone

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A California wildfire swept through my place six years ago, killing most all of the trees and burning down a just restored barn. I had many lovely madrones on my land, some three hundred years old and all of them died. Madrone bark is thin and provides no protection from fire while some of the big pine and fir trees survived. But amazingly enough, the madrones immediately resprouted from the roots and now many of them are 8 or 9 feet tall and thanks to a friend of mine have been shaped into a tree. The sprouts come out so thick that the madrones after the fire look like shrubs, but with some skillful pruning can be encouraged to begin a tree existence sooner than nature would allow.

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The Madrone is a lovely tree, evergreen, with large shiny green leaves and pink or red bark that peels off in the spring to reveal a satiny green new bark which in turn turns reddish. It has sweet smelling flowers in the spring that come in white droops and later a red berry forms which feeds wildlife, birds, deer, bear among others. I'm so happy my madrones are making a come back. They are notoriously hard to transplant and really thrive only in a Mediterreanean climate with hot summers and wet cool winters. If you're interested in trying to grow this lovely tree, you best start with a seed and plant it where you want it to grow. If you can't find a source of seeds, let me know and I can send you some this summer when the berries come ripe.

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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at December 31, 2010 7:24 AM
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