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Protocol Information

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


Family Scientific Name: Pinaceae
Family Common Name: Pine family
Scientific Name: Abies grandis (Dougl.) ex D. Don
Common Name: Grand fir
Species Code: ABIGRA
Ecotype: Spruce/ Fir forest, Sprague Creek, Glacier National Park, Flathead Co., MT.
General Distribution: A. grandis occurs from sea level to 2500m elevation in the Rocky Mountains; from southern B.C. to Sonoma Co., California, east to southeast B.C., north and western Idaho and western Montana, to extreme southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 2 Years
Target Specifications: Height: 15 cm.
Caliper: n/a.
Root System: firm plug in conetainer.
Propagule Collection: Cones are collected in early September when cones turn dark brown but before they begin to dehisce. It is best to collect cones from the upper third of the tree crown because seed quality is usually higher. Abies seed fill rates are often low; less than 30%. Thus, it is necessary to collect as many good quality cones as possible to obtain an adequate amount of seeds. Mature seeds are firm and tan to brown in color. Fir seeds undergo 2 stages of ripening; the first involves movement of materials from the cone scale to the seed, the second involves metabolic changes in the seed. For this reason, seeds should not be extracted from the cones immediately. Cones are stored in burlap sacks for several weeks in well ventilated sheds.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are tumbled to extract seeds from cone scales. Abies seeds are fragile and can be easily damaged during processing. Hand cleaning of small lots is recommended.
Seed longevity is at least 5 years at 3 to 5C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: 50,000 /kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 4 to 17%
Pre-Planting Treatments: This species is reported to be light requiring for germination. A 30 to 40 day cold, moist naked stratification is recommended.
Seeds are soaked in running water for 48 hours. Imbibed seeds are placed into a bridal mesh bag suspended in a plastic bag that is suspended in the refrigerator for 40 days at 1 to 3 C.
Seed bags are checked weekly for moisture and rinsed thorughly if mold develops during stratification.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Greenhouse and Outdoor nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Direct Seeding. Seeds are surface sown for the light requirement.
Growing medium used is 6:1:1 milled sphagnum peat, perlite, and vermiculite 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 set at 22C/15C day/night cycle for 12 hrs each during germination. Seeded containers are misted twice per day during germination to keep seeds evenly moist.
Establishment Phase: Germination is typically non uniform but usually complete in 4 weeks. Germinants shed the seed coats 15 days after emergence. Seedlings are thinned at this stage.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Seedlings should be protected from direct sun during cultivation. A. grandis develops at a moderate rate. Plants were fertilized with 20-10-20 liquid NPK at 100 ppm during the growing season and were fully root tight 30 weeks after germination and averaged 5 cm in height.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 20 weeks
Hardening Phase: Tree seedlings are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm starting in mid August. Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Plants are leached with clear water once before winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 8 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 1 year
Harvest Date: September and October
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, 7th edition, University of Washington Press, 1973.

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

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

Glacier National Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.

The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation, Dirr and Heuser, Varsity Press, 1987.

Citation:
Wick, Dale; Luna, Tara.; Evans, Jeff. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of container Abies grandis (Dougl.) ex D. Don plants (172 ml conetainers); USDI NPS - Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 28 July 2014). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.