Is a strawberry tree a good choice?

A:

Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) is fully hardy in the Willamette Valley. Salem is USDA Zone 8 and I've never seen one suffer winter injury. There's a really nice example, one of the best I've seen, on the south side of Bush House in Bush's Pasture Park in Salem.

The compact forms of the species are definitely worth seeking out as the species itself can grow to be 12' tall and up to 20' wide. It's huge. The compact forms include 'Elfin King', 'Compacta' and 'Oktoberfest'. Check with local nurseries to see what varieties they carry  'Compacta' will likely be most common. Also see the discussion of the plant in the OSU Landscape Plant website.

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