Join the Arbutus ARME!
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.
New to the ARME
Joey Hulbert has joined the WSU Ornamental Plant Pathology Program at the WSU Research and Extension Center in Puyallup as a Postdoctoral Fellow funded by the USDA. He is passionate about public engagement in science and will bring fresh ideas to the Arbutus ARME. Joey recently returned to the Pacific Northwest after spending four years in South Africa while completing a PhD and leading Cape Citizen Science. Check out this YouTube video for a glimpse of his dedication to inclusion in science. His drive and enthusiasm are most welcome in the ARME and we are excited to have his involvement. 

The Collective

Madrones and petroglyphs - near Port Alberni, BC
We’re back! The  past few months have been a challenge, but now the weather is perfect for visiting our favorite trees while observing the proper social distance. In this edition we provide some links to virtual learning experiences in the events section.

Trees and Justice

Tacoma Tree Foundation is a non profit organization that “empowers community members to plant and care for trees in Tacoma”, often in neighborhoods that have very little urban forest.
You can help the community urban forest by mapping trees in your South Sound neighborhood, become a Tree Steward, host a “tree warming party” and much more. Read about ways this organization is combating environmental racism by planting trees in this blog post.

New Website Coming Soon!

Stay tuned as we are finalizing a new website to host resources and information about the Arbutus ARME. However, in the meantime, check out the recent updates to our current website to include more information about Pacific madrone and the ongoing research at WSU.
Hot Topic: Propagation Research

Decreasing Transplant Shock of Arbutus menziesii using Ellepot System Propagation Containers

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 Madeline 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:

Madrone stories -  The wand chooses the wizard

Read about the magical properties of Pacific madrone wood in this post “A Guide to American Wandlore: Volume 1” by James Pascatore.
Disease of the month - wood decay
And speaking of wood…
The wood of Pacific madrone is fine-grained and noted for being hard, but also has low resistance to decay. Wood decay fungi such as the turkey-tail fungus (Trametes versicolor) and others can enter through branch stubs, wounds, and via wood boring insects and dampwood termites. The decay columns provide habitat for cavity-nesting birds. Trees can live with wood decay but they will fail if they become structurally weak. Armillaria decays large woody roots and can move up into the root collar. This white-rotting fungus can be identified by golden-brown mushrooms on the wood, and more often by the presence of black zone lines in advanced decay.

Learn more about the properties of madrone wood here:
Trametes versicolor fruiting in large pruning cut on madrone. Note the exit holes made by ambrosia beetles. The beetles carry spores of bluestain and wood decay fungi into the exposed wood.
Galleries made by wood boring beetle (Buprestidae) in madrone wood.
Canker and wood decay fungi on an old pruning cut with dampwood termite damage in foreground.
Damage to base of large madrone tree that was colonized by canker and decay fungi. Note black zone lines in white rotted wood.
TreeSnap Update

Close to 350 observations of Pacific Madrone trees have been shared on the TreeSnap application! This is amazing—keep up the great work!

We are very excited to see observations spanning the presumed range of Pacific madrone. However, we would love to see more observations because it would help us investigate the factors associated with the health of the trees. Know that we are using the observations you submit for conservation research and that these data will help us leverage more support for the Arbutus ARME.

The health of Pacific madrone trees submitted in TreeSnap have been highly variable. This variation is interesting, but more observations are needed to see if any patterns emerge. We are also looking at the health of the trees in relation to the symptoms that are reported, so stay tuned for more information in our next newsletter! 

We specifically acknowledge the superior contributions of Ruth Baetz, Matthew Hilliard, Ian Fischer and Luke Armitstead, the top 4 users! Well done!
Events & News
Growing Old Podcast

Straight out of Seattle, this podcast is the greatest podcast we have ever listened to. Not only do they look at the future of our urban forest, they eloquently outline issues of historic and systemic racism that affects our political ecology and urban ecosystem. Episode 6 Stay for the Trees talks about madrone!

Great people. Great stories. And great music. Read and listen for yourself at 

Listen to Episode 6 Stay for the Trees

Madrone Research

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! 

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.


Madrone in the News

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

Tree Webinars

Urban Forest Connections Webinar Series

Second Wednesdays | 1:00 - 2:15 pm ET = 10:00 – 11:15 am Pacific
The Forest Service's Urban Forest Connections webinar series brings experts together to discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment. These webinars are open to all.

Arbutus ARME Recorded Webinar
Reboot of our May 2019 Life and Death of Pacific madrone in Pacific Northwest Forests with Washington State University Extension Forestry
Socialize with the ARME
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Send your ideas, projects, announcements, or other madrone-related items for the newsletter to
This project is supported by USDA Forest Service Forest Health Protection Evaluation Monitoring Project #18-CA-11062765-726
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