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Pacific Madrone Research Madrone leaf blight distribution in 2011

Vancouver Island, BC and NW Washington State



July 12, 2011

Some more photos of blighted and unblighted Arbutus.

These were all taken on Hornby Island (approx N 49 30′ W 124 39′)

Photos by Harry Kope, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.


Healthy madrone on Hornby Island, BC.
Healthy foliage fully expanded with blighted foliage still attached, Hornby Island, BC.

July 8, 2011

“I took a boating trip last month from Port Townsend to Gabriola Island (just east of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island). All the madrone trees along the shore of the small islands along the way, and inland a mile (which is as far inland as I hiked,) looked great. There was no sign of the dead leaves at the tips, of any diseased leaves at all, no black spots, nor of the branch cankers that plague the trees here in Port Townsend. I did not get close enough to Vancouver Island  to observe theirs, but was ashore on several of the San Juan and Gulf Islands. I wondered if the island trees absorb enough salt to protect them a little from freeze damage?  Or maybe just the isolation protects them.”

June 10, 2011

“I’ve attached some photos, not very clear ones, of mature, blighted Arbutus trees.  It is very severe in some areas within greater Victoria, and then in other areas still within greater Victoria and not that far away, the blight is not as severe.

  • The furthest north I have on the Island is Cowichan Valley Highway W 123 52’ 57”  N 48 47’ 51”
  • The furthest south I have on the Island is Rocky Point Road, Metchosin – W123 33’ 28”  N 48 21’ 52”
  • A very severely blighted area near in the hills on the west side of Victoria, Sarah Owen Place and Cyril Owen Place  W 123 26’ 8”  N 48 30’ 3”


Cowichan Valley
Cowichan Valley
Rocky Point Rd, Metchosin, BC

Photos by Harry Kope, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

June 2, 2011

“I have a 50 year old 50 foot arbutus in my back yard which I adore!  I has blackened leaves falling off the bottom 1/4 to 1/3rd of it and this has never happened at this time of year.  It is just finishing flowering profusely and also it has an abundance of new leaves at the end of some of the branches that have these dead, black curled leaves.” Victoria, BC.

May 16, 2011

“I have 5 acres on Salt Spring & have noticed in the past 5 or so years that many are dying on the island, and now on my property this year, suddenly they have been hit with this blight.

I have probably a dozen on my property that are all fairly mature & more than half look desperately desiccated, and while they are fruiting like mad, they are definitely on their way out. The winter did have 2 harsh cold spikes, but nothing has changed around them, they all have fantastic drainage & as I said, they are all easily over 25 years each.”

“We reside in the Orcas Highlands.  We are at 870 ft.  The madronas on our property are not healthy and appear to be dying.  There has been rapid progression of leaves turning brown during the last week.”

“We live on the East side of Mt Dallas at about 530’ elevation.  Have a grove of small Madrones and one quite large one (about 50 ft, with a 20-22” diameter ) It is thriving and is loaded with flowers, with just a few brown leaves on lower branches. Some of the smaller ones took a winter hit and have mostly brown leaves, but all have very healthy looking green buds and some are all green and flowering.”

May 13, 2011

“We are the stewards of North Finger Island, a private island in the Sucias, and spend a lot of time in the forest there year-round. NFI is a virtual madrone nursery. Protected from foraging deer, young seedlings thrive by the thousands, and there are very old groves of madrones as well. Other than the widely pervasive frost damage this winter, which left a lot of brown leaves, we have not noticed any systemic problem with our madrones.”

April 29, 2011

“My observation is overall just about every arbutus tree has some form of this blight from Duncan, BC to Sooke BC. “

April 26, 2011

“I noticed significant foliar dieback on numerous Arbutus trees located on the Malahat Drive on Vancouver Island. Specifically located on the Island Highway 1 North of Goldstream Provincial Park which is just North of Victoria.  Large Arbutus were almost completely affected with leaves having turned a grey brown. … I have not heard of or seen any blight evidence on the Northern half of the Island yet.”

April 20, 2011

“Noted about 12 + trees in this location on Vancouver island known as LePage road.  Most are dead and or near dead from what appears to be the blight you are interested in.”

Photos courtesy of Clive Baudin, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations