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Protocol Information

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

Family Scientific Name: Poaceae
Family Common Name: Grass family
Scientific Name: Festuca idahoensis Elmer
Common Name: Idaho fescue
Species Code: FESIDA
Ecotype: Festuca idahoensis grassland, Rising Sun, Glacier National Park, Glacier Co., MT
General Distribution: F. idahoensis occurs in grasslands and sagebrush deserts to dry and rocky slopes and meadows; up to 4,000 m elevation in some areas. It ranges from B.C. to Alberta south through Washington and Oregon and Sierran California, and to Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. 
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 12 Weeks
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling
Height: 10 to 20 true leaves, 10 cm
Caliper: n/a
Root System: firm plug in conetainer.
Propagule Collection: Seeds are collected in mid to late August when florets turn papery and tan and seeds are easily shaken out of floret. Seeds can be hand stripped from the inflorescence just prior to shattering or the entire inflorescence can be cut using hand held sickles. Seeds are spread over an open tarp in the drying shed.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are cleaned using a huller at NRCS.
Seed Storage is estimated at 3 to 5 years at 3 to 5C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: 1,000,000/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 40%
Pre-Planting Treatments: None. Germination is reported to be higher in the presence of light. 3 year old seed was used. Fresh seeds must be cold, moist stratified or dry stored for 6 months prior to sowing.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Greenhouse and Outdoor Nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Direct Seeding. Seeds should be surface sown.
Growing medium used is 70% 6:1:1 milled sphagnum 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 1 gram of Osmocote and 0.20 gram of Micromax per 172 ml conetainer.
Greenhouse temperatures are maintained at 21 to 25C during the day and 16 to 18C at night. Seedlings are hand watered and remain in greenhouse until mid May. Seedlings are then moved to outdoor nursery for the remainder of the growing season.
Seedlings 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.
Establishment Phase: Media is kept slightly moist during germination. Initial germination appeared uniform and occurred at 21C.
Length of Establishment Phase: 3 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Root and shoot development occurs rapidly following germination. 4 to 6 true leaves were evident 3 weeks after germination. Plants were fertilized with 20-20-20 liquid NPK fertilizer during the growing season.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 7 weeks
Hardening Phase: Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Plants are leached with clear water before winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 12 weeks
Harvest Date:June
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Outplanting performance on typical sites: Outplanting Site: Saint Mary, Glacier National Park< MT.
Outplanting Date: September
Other Comments: F. idahoensis grows on a variety of soil types and is moderately drought tolerant. It is found from 100 meters in the Columbia River Basin to over 4,000 meters elevation in Colorado. It has fair tolerance of fall burning. It is important forage for deer and elk.
There are 2 botanical varieties, var. idahoensis, and var. oregona.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, 7th edition, University of Washington Press,1973.

Growing Colorado plants From Seed: A State of the Art. Vol 2: Grasses, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NTIS General Technical Report, 1982.

Seeds: Ecology,Biogeography and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, Baskin and Baskin, Academic Press, 1998.

Seeding Rate Statistics for Native and Introduced Species, Hassell, USDI and USDA, April 1996.

Glacier National Park Propagation Records, unpublished.

Wick, Dale; Lapp, Joyce.; Luna, Tara.; Evans, Jeff. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of container Festuca idahoensis Elmer plants (172 ml conetainers); USDI NPS - Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 30 August 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.