Blame the Joyce Oroz

If a tree falls in the back yard, and I didn’t hear it fall… did it really fall?

You better believe it fell! After my stealth husband and his ever ready chainsaw discovered more wood for the burn-pile. And everyone knows that the biggest burn-pile in the neighborhood wins—or burns down the neighborhood, which ever comes first.

So who cares if another tree hits the dust?

Let me be clear: My favorite strawberry tree WAS one of three, strategically placed, lovely trees. For seven years I watched and waited for the trees to produce a bit of shade. Finally, at six feet tall they gave me red bark, yellow blossoms, red berry thingies and some blessed shade. Strawberry trees resemble Manzanitas with pretty ornaments dangling among the shiny green foliage. They thrive in heat and freezing temperatures. I imagined they would live forever … little did I know I would end up with a nub and a leaf.

Subsequently, someone has lost his chainsaw-privileges.

Here are some tips on planting your own strawberry tree.

Strawberry trees are best planted young because they resent disturbance (like loud chainsaws). Sun and warmth are essential, so choose a sheltered position in well-drained soil away from frost pockets and burn-piles. Never allow water-logging. Plant in spring where possible, to allow the plant several months to acclimate before winter sets in. Be prepared to cosset your young plant through its first few winters by covering it with a fleece liner in extremely cold weather. As the tree matures, it will become hardier. Pruning prevents fruit setting as the "strawberries" are formed from the previous year's flowers. Pruning down to a nub is not recommended. Early summer is the time to cut back any long stems. Seed can be sown into sand but the resulting plants will vary. Better to take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer. These will root in a heated propagator.




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