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Protocol Information

Native Plant Nursery
USDI NPS - Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
(406) 888-7835

Family Scientific Name: Ericaceae
Family Common Name: Heath family
Scientific Name: Vaccinium scoparium Leiberg.
Common Name: Grouse Whortleberry
Species Code: VACSCO
Ecotype: Lodgepole pine forest, West Glacier, Flathead Co., MT.
General Distribution: V. scoparium occurs from Alaska to California, east to Alberta and South Dakota and south through the Rocky Mountains to Colorado.   
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Vegetative
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 800 ml container
Time To Grow: 2 Years
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container cutting
Height: 6 cm
Caliper: n/a
Root System: firm plug in 800 ml pot.
Propagule Collection: Vegetative Propagation Method: Pre-Rooting
Type of Cutting: Summer softwood stem cuttings
Propagule Processing: Cuttings are kept moist and under refrigeration prior to pre treatment.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Softwood Cuttings were re-cut and terminal buds were removed. Cuttings were treated with 2,000 ppm liquid IBA, and placed in 1:1 (v:v) peat: perlite rooting medium in the mist bed with bottom heat. Cuttings were 7 cm in length and 7 mm in diameter. Rooting %: 28% in 14 weeks
Softwood cuttings had significantly higher number and quality of roots compared to semi-hardwood cuttings taken one month earlier. Semi-hardwood cuttings had 20% rooting average. No callus formation occurred with either cutting type. Cuttings with a section of 2 year old wood at the base had the greatest density of roots. A higher concentration of IBA talc should be tried using cuttings with 2 yr old wood.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

The outdoor mistbed has automatic intermittent mist that is applied at 6 second intervals every 6 minutes. Too frequent misting will result in leaf and stem rot. Misting frequency is increased or decreased according to daily outdoor temperature and wind. Bottom heat is maintained at 21C with heating cables 12 cm beneath rooting medium. Rooting medium is 50% perlite and 50% peat. Mistbed is covered with shadecloth during rooting. After cuttings are potted, they are moved to an outdoor shadehouse for 4 weeks. They are later moved to full sun exposure in the outdoor nursery and are irrigated with Rainbird automatic irrigation system in early morning until containers are thoroughly leached. Average growing season of nursery is from late April after snowmelt until October 15th. First average frost is September 5th, although freezing temperatures can be expected anytime in Glacier National Park.
Establishment Phase: Cuttings that were pre rooted were lifted out of mistbed after adequate root systems were formed. Roots generate from the nodes below the surface of the rooting medium.
Length of Establishment Phase: 12 weeks
Active Growth Phase: After cuttings were lifted from the mistbed, they were potted into 800 ml containers. Growing medium used is 70% 6:1:1 milled spaghnum peat, perlite, and vermiculite and 30% sand with Osmocote controlled release fertilizer (13N:13P2O5:13K2O; 8 to 9 month release rate at 21C) and Micromax fertilizer (12%S, 0.1%B, 0.5%Cu, 12%Fe, 2.5%Mn, 0.05%Mo, 1%Zn) at the rate of 2 grams of Osmocote and 0.5 gram of Micromax per conetainer. Cuttings were irrigated after potting and placed in the shadehouse for the remainder of the growing season.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 4 weeks 1st year, 16 weeks 2nd year
Hardening Phase: Plants were given one final irrigation prior to winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: 2 to 3 years
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Outplanting performance on typical sites: Outplanting Site: Camas, Glacier National Park.
Outplanting Date: September
Other Comments: Seed Propagation: Seeds/Kg: 11,600,000/kg
Seed Processing: The fruit is collected in August. Seeds are tan at maturity. Seeds are cleaned by a macerator and screened.
Seed longevity is unknown.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
Seed Treatments: Seed is surface sown on finely milled peat and kept moist at 17 to 21C. Seed requires light for germination. A 20 to 30 day stratification would likely increase germination percentages.

Other Vegetative Propagation methods:
Plants can also be grown by rhizome divisions taken in early spring or fall.

The berries are eaten by birds and small mammals. The twigs and foliage are a favorite browse.

References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1990.

Seeds of the Woody Plants in North America, Young and Young, Dioscorides Press, 1992.

The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture, Dirr and Heuser, Varsity Press, 1987.

Glacier National Park Propagation Records, unpublished.

Wick, Dale; Evans, Jeff.; Luna, Tara. 2008. Propagation protocol for vegetative production of container Vaccinium scoparium Leiberg. plants (800 ml container); USDI NPS - Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 1 September 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.