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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.

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 27 August 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.

Protocol Information

Rae Watson
Forestry Technician
USDA FS - J Herbert Stone Nursery
2606 Old Stage Rd.
Central Point, Oregon 97537

Family Scientific Name: Pinaceae
Family Common Name: Pine
Scientific Name: Abies grandis grandis
Common Name: Grand Fir
Species Code: ABIGRA
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Bareroot (field grown)
Stock Type: 2+0
Time To Grow: 21 Months
Target Specifications: From northern Oregon to Washington, minimum height is 6 inches (15cm). Southern Oregon and Northern California minimum height is 4 inches (10cm). Caliper is 4mm. Root system must balance top growth. No mechanical damage on the main stem. Cranberry girdler damage is acceptable if it is less than 0.6cm (¼”) long by ¼ the circumference of the stem.
Propagule Collection: Most seed comes from wild collections, with the remainder coming from seed orchards managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. All seed is collected or contracted for collection by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management or other government agencies. All seed is collected in the fall.
Propagule Processing: Seed is sent to Bend Pine Extractory in the fall for cleaning. All seed is kept separate by the collection area, elevation and date collected. It is dried to between 5 and 8% moisture and placed in air tight plastic bags, then stored in seed freezers set at -15C (5F). This seed has a long storage life under these conditions.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed is placed in mesh bags and soaked in cold running water for 48 hour. The seed is then laid out 3cm (1 in) thick on trays with fine screen meshed bottoms and placed in cold stratification rooms for 45 days. Rooms are equipped with foggers to keep the naked seed moist at all times (seed covered with free moisture). Temperatures are set at 1C (33F). Seed is monitored daily to detect seed mold. If mold is found, the seed is hosed down with water.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

The nursery soils are a sandy loam (Central Point Sandy Loam Soil Series – Coarse-loamy, mixed, mesic Pachic Haploxeroll). Nine months before sowing, in late spring, 2.5cm (1in) inch of fresh sawdust is applied and disked into the surface. During the summer, the fields are irrigated to encourage weeds to sprout. The fields are disked at regular intervals to keep them free of weeds. The addition of sawdust, weed free fields and early sow of seed keeps the incidence of disease and weeds to a minimum and this is the reason we will not be fumigating our fields this year. We use a pre-emergence herbicide. Soils are formed into 1.2m (4ft) wide raised beds separated by a 0.6m (2ft) tractor path. There are six beds between irrigation pipelines.
Establishment Phase: Seeds are sown in late March to early April. The seed is sown through a modified Oyjard seed drill. Seed is sown for an initial density of 237 seedlings/m2 (22 seedlings/ft2). Attached to the front of the seed drill is a fertilizer bander. Depending on our soil analysis the bander places 500 kg/ha (450 lb/ac) of potassium sulfate (0-0-53) and 400 kg/ha (360 lb/ac) of ammonium phosphate (11-52-0) is placed at a depth in the soil of10cm (4in). The seed drill has been adapted by attaching 8 steel bands to the drum. The bands are 3cm (1¼ in) wide by 1cm (3/8in) deep and 15cm (6 in) apart. As it rolls in front of the seeder, the band creates a small impression for the seed to drop into. The tubes of the seed drill have been increased in size to allow large seed to pass through and drop directly into the impressions. Behind the seed tubes are small wheels that press the seed into the surface of the soil. Within a half hour of sowing, and then covered with 1cm to 1.3cm (3/8 to ½ in) of fresh (undecomposed) sawdust. The sawdust is sprayed with Agrilock at 15% solution to hold it in place in case of high winds. Then the seedbeds are sprayed with Goal (oxyfluorfen) at 2 pints per acre as a pre-emergent control for weeds.The seedbeds are irrigated when the seed appears to be drying out. This occurs only on warm days. There is no fertilization during this period.
Length of Establishment Phase: 3 Weeks
Active Growth Phase: First Year:

Irrigation: Soil tensiometers are placed at 15cm (6in) depths and monitored at least once per week. Soils are irrigated to 30cm (12in) when tensions are at -0.5 or higher. Light (5 minute) bursts of irrigation are given when surface soil temperatures (temperature probe placed under a ¼ inch of soil) are 33C (91F) in June; 35C (95F) in July; 38C (100F) in early August and 40C (104F) in mid August. Fertilizer: Fertilizer is applied in granular form over the seedlings. After application is complete, the fertilizer is washed off the foliage and into the soil with a half hour of irrigation water. Four applications are made: Approximately 6 weeks after emergence, 56 kg/ha (50 lbs/ac) of ammonium nitrate is applied when lateral roots have developed from new germinants. 8 weeks after emergence – 84 kg/ha (75 lbs/ac of ammonium nitrate. 10 weeks after emergence – 134 kg/ha (120 lbs/ac) ammonium sulfate and 12 weeks after emergence – 112 ka/ha (100 lbs/ac) of ammonium nitrate. IPM: Handweeding of beds if necessary.

Second Year:

Irrigation: Starting last week of March, irrigate soil profile when soil tension is -0.3 bars. Irrigate to cool seedlings when foliar temperatures reach 32C (90F) from April to mid June, 35C (95F) from mid June through July, 38C (100F) early August and 40C (105F) from late August on. Fertilizer: The first application of ammonium nitrate at 168 kg/ha (150 lbs/ac) is applied two weeks before bud break (end of March). Two weeks later 224 kg/ha (200 lbs/ac) of ammonium sulfate is applied and followed two weeks later with 84 kg/ha (75 lbs/ac) of ammonium nitrate. IPM: Hand weeding. If Crysoteuchia topiaria (cranberry girdler) exceeds threshold (which does not happen every year) then the bug vacuum is used to reduce the moth population. If the populations are still high, then pydrin at 5.3 oz/acre is used to control the moths. If high levels of seedling damage is detected in the summer months, then an application of Dursban will be considered.Prunes and wrenches: Vertically pruned in the spring to 15cm (6in) and immediately wrenched at 30cm (12in). 4 to 6 wrenches during the growing season. Top prune seedlings at 30cm (12 in) when 15 percent of the seedlings are at or above 30cm (12 in). Top prune a second time at 43cm (17in) when 10 percent of the seedlings are at or above 43cm (17 in).

Hardening Phase: First Year:

By the third week in August induce dormancy. Irrigation: Only irrigate when the surface temperatures exceed 38C (100F) or pre-dawn plant moisture stress (PMS) exceeds 10 bars. In the early fall the soil profile is completely moistened and plants are kept below 5 bars pre-dawn PMS. From October through the early portion of November, the seedlings are protected from frosts through irrigation. Fertilizer: No fertilizations. IPM: Handweed beds if needed. Prunes and wrenches: Seedlings are horizontally pruned at 15cm (6 in) in September and immediately wrenched at 30cm (12in).

Second Year:

When 80 percent of the seedlings reach 25cm (10 in), dormancy is induced. Irrigation: Starting in June irrigate soil profile when pre-dawn PMS is 12 bars. In mid September, the soil profile is irrigated. From that point forward, the profile is irrigated when tensiometers read -0.3 to -0.5 bars. Fertilizer: No fertilizations. IPM: Handweed beds of needed. Prunes and wrenches: Wrenched at 30cm (12in) in mid Sept for root growth.

Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Lifting window is January through early February. Seedlings are hand-lifted after the seedlings beds have been undercut using an Lundeby lifter. Lifting conditions must be in unsaturated soils, PMS below 15 bars and temperatures above –3C (27F). Seedlings are stored at 1C (33F) and 100 percent humidity for 1 to 5 days before sorting. Sorting removes seedlings that do not meet target specifications (see above). Many clients ask for seedlings to be rootpruned between 23 and 30cm (9 and 12 inch) for planting reasons. We accomplish this with paper cutters. At clients request, we will place a rubber band around a group of seedlings, usually 25. Seedlings are placed in 3 ply bags and sown shut. The bags are placed on racks and stored in coolers at 1C (33F) for storage durations less than 2 months or in freezers at –1C (29F) for greater than 2 months.
Length of Storage: up to 5 months
References: Schopmeyer C.S. 1974. Seeds of Woody Plants in the United States. Ag Handbook 450. USDA Forest Service.

Duryea M.L., Landis T.D. 1984. Forest Nursery Manual: Production of Bareroot Seedlings. Martius Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers, the Hague Boston/Lancaster, Forest Research Lab, OSU Corvallis. 386p.

Steinfeld, David E 2001. Propagation protocol for production of field-grown Abies grandis grandis plants (2+0); USDA FS - J Herbert Stone Nursery, Central Point, Oregon. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 27 August 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.

Protocol Information

Carol and Jerry Baskin
University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0225

Family Scientific Name: Pinaceae
Family Common Name: Pine family
Scientific Name: Abies grandis (Dougl.) Forbes
Common Name: Grand fir
Species Code: ABIGRA
General Distribution: A. grandis is found from southern British Columbia south to northern California and east to Idaho and western Montana.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Container (plug)
Propagule Processing: Seed dormancy is physiological dormancy.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seeds are placed in cold moist stratification for 20 to 40 days. Germination occurs at 30D/20N C alternating temperature cycle. Germination was equal in light and dark.
References: Franklin, J. F. (1974). Abies Mill. Fir. Pp. 168-183. In: C. S. Schopmeyer (Tech. Coord.). Seeds of woody plants in the United States. USDA. Forest Service. Agriculture Handbook No. 450.
Li, X. J., Burton, P. J. and Leadem, C. L. (1994). Interactive effects of light and stratification on the germination of some British Columbia conifers. Can J. Bot. 72, 1635-1646.
Table 10.35 In: Baskin, C.J. and Baskin, J.M. Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography and Evolution in Dormancy and Germination, Academic Press, 1998. Chapter 10: A Geographical Perspective on Germination Ecology: Temperate and Arctic Zones, pages 331 to 458.

Baskin, Carol C.; Baskin, Jerry M. 2002. Propagation protocol for production of container Abies grandis (Dougl.) Forbes plants; University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 27 August 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.