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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 famly
Scientific Name: Pinus albicaulis Engelm.
Common Name: Whitebark pine
Species Code: PINALB
Ecotype: Subalpine fir/Whitebark pine forest, Two Medicine, Glacier National Park, MT., 2060m elevation.
General Distribution: P. albicaulis occurs at or near tree line on talus, exposed bedrock, or very young soils with little horizon development. It ranges from southern B.C. through the Cascades to California, east to northeast Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and northern Nevada.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 2 Years
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling
Height: 6 cm
Caliper: n/a
Root System: firm plug in conetainer.
Propagule Collection: Seeds are collected when cones turn from deep purple to dark brown in early fall. Mature seeds are very firm and brown in color. Whitebark pine cones must be caged with wire meshing to protect the developing cones from animal and bird predation. After removing cages, collectors climb trees and collect cones from branches with pruning shears. Cones are collected in paper bags and kept in a well ventilated greenhouse to prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: The indehiscent cones are dried immediately to prevent mold development.
A tumbler and dewinger are used to clean seeds. Ideally, seeds must be dried to 7 to 8% moisture content.
Seed longevity is reported to be 8 years at 1 to 5C storage temperatures in sealed containers.
Freezing is detrimental to stored seeds. The endosperm may shrink away from the seed coat during storage, but seeds have been successfully re-hydrated if the seed coat is nicked, with satisfactory germination.
Seed dormancy is classified as morpho-physiological dormancy. There is great variation in the development of the embryos in the seeds within a cone. Thus, the time required for after-ripening of seeds will vary from seed to seed. This may explain the prolonged germination pattern.
Seeds/Kg: 57,000/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 30 to 45%
Pre-Planting Treatments: This following is the recommended treatment: Hand scarify seedcoats with a file or nail clipper, ensuring that the endosperm is not damaged during scarification. Place seeds in a 48 hour running water rinse. Seeds are placed into a 30 day month warm, moist stratification at 21C day (12 hrs)/18C night 12hrs), with seeds exposed to light during day temperatures cycle. Next, seeds are placed into a 30 to 100 day cold, moist stratification in moist peat in darkness at 1 to 3C.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Greenhouse and outdoor nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Direct Seeding or Planting Germinants. Seeds are covered with medium and irrigated thoroughly.
Growing media 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 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 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: Medium is kept slightly moist during germination. Initial germination is non uniform.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 to 8 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Whitebark pines are sensitive to any environmental changes during growth and will set terminal buds and cease growth.
Therefore, seedlings must be grown under greenhouse conditions where temperature, irrigation and photo period can be controlled.
Once seedlings are established, they must dry down between irrigations.
Seedlings are fertilized with 20-10-20 liquid NPK at 100 ppm during the active growth phase.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 20 weeks 1st year, 25 weeks 2nd year
Hardening Phase: During fall months, seedlings are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm. Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Seedlings are leached with water before winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 5 months
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 2 to 3 years.
Harvest Date: September of the 2nd or 3rd year.
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: P. albicaulis seedlings grow at a slow to moderate rate. It may take 6 to 8 months to attain 2.5 to 4 cm tall seedlings, and up to an additional year to attain root tightness in 172 ml (10 cubic inch) conetainers.
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.

Personal Contact: Aram Eramian, State Nursery, Couer d’ Alene, ID., Nov. 1998.

Glacier National Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.

Wick, Dale; Luna, Tara.; Evans, Jeff.; Hosokawa, Joy. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of container Pinus albicaulis Engelm. plants (172 ml conetainers); USDI NPS - Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 3 September 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.