Untitled Page
About Us
Propagation Protocol Database
Subscribe to Native Plant Journal
Print View

Protocol Information

John M. Englert
Natural Resources Conservation Service - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center
Bldg. 509, BARC - East, E. Beaver Dam Road
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
(301) 504-8175
(301) 504-8741

Family Scientific Name: Rosaceae
Family Common Name: Rose Family
Scientific Name: Physocarpus opulifolius
Common Name: Common ninebark
Species Code: PHYOPU
Ecotype: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
General Distribution: Quebec to Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado, south to North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Found in moist, sandy or rocky soil; along streambanks, rivers and shores.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Vegetative
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 1 liter containers
Time To Grow: 18 Months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Quart size containers.
Height: 12 inches.
Caliper: N/A.
Root System: Extensive fibrous root system; firm when pulled from containers.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Container Type and Volume: Cuttings are started in large 14” w x 22” l x 4” d flats; once rooted, they are transferred to quart containers.
Growing Media: Cuttings are stuck in straight perlite. Transplants are grown in woody mix (3.8 cu ft. bale Sunshine #1, 4 cu. ft. of pine bark mulch, 20 oz. Nutricote and approximately 20 oz. endo-mycorrhizae).
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: Once cuttings are transferred to quarts in late summer, they are moved outside to a shade house for acclimation.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: It takes about 1½ years to get a quart container ready for the field.
Storage Conditions: Container plants are stored in a cold house @ 40º F for the winter; containers are periodically watered to prevent dehydration.
Outplanting performance on typical sites: Outplanting Site: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia; National Plant Materials Center, Maryland.
Outplanting Date: Spring.
Other Comments: Vegetation Propagation Method: Softwood cuttings are taken in early to mid July, either at the Parks or from stock plants established at the NPMC. Cuttings are trimmed to approximately 6 inches with one pair of leaves at the top, dipped in Hormodin 2, and stuck in flats of perlite under mist in the greenhouse. Cuttings root in a few weeks and are then transplanted to quart containers with a mix of Sunshine Mix #1, fine pine bark chips, Nutricote, and endomycorrhizae.
Propagator: J. Englert, J. Kujawski, K. Davis.
References: Brown and Brown. 1992. Woody Plants of Maryland,. Port City Press, Inc.

Gleason, H and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd edition. New York Bot. Garden.

Kujawski, J. 1997. Annual Report to the National Park Service for Shenandoah National Park. USDA NRCS National Plant Materials Center. Beltsville, MD.

Davis, Kathy M.; Kujawski, Jennifer L. 2002. Propagation protocol for vegetative production of container Physocarpus opulifolius plants (1 liter containers); Natural Resources Conservation Service - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center, Beltsville, Maryland. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 5 September 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.

Protocol Information

Gregory Hoss
Nursery Manager
George O. White State Forest Nursery
PO Box 119
Licking, Missouri 65542-0119

Family Scientific Name: Rosaceae
Family Common Name: Rose Family
Scientific Name: Physocarpus opulifolius (L.) Maxim.
Common Name: ninebark
Species Code: PHYOPU
Ecotype: Missouri
General Distribution: Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius (L.) Maxim. [Rosaceae]) is a small shrub, 1 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft) tall. The shrub is multi-stemmed, spreading to 2.5 m (8 ft). Bark peels off in thin papery strips, resembling the number nine in shape, exposing brown inner bark. It occurs naturally on gravel bars, rocky banks and bluffs along streams and moist thickets, often overhanging the water. This species is adaptable to a very wide range of soil and site conditions, from moist to dry, acid to alkaline, and gravelly to heavy clay. It will grow in partial shade to full sun and is found from Quebec west to Minnesota, South Dakota and Colorado, south to Oklahoma to Georgia and north to New York.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Bareroot (field grown)
Stock Type: 1+0 bareroot
Time To Grow: 15 Months
Target Specifications: Height: 42 to 92 cm
Caliper: 3 to 12 mm
Propagule Collection: In Missouri, fruits ripen from August to early October and are small, dry pods hanging in drooping, papery clusters that resemble bellows. Each pod contains 2 to 5 yellowish, shiny seeds. We collect seedpods in late September. To allow them to further ripen and dry, we place them in elevated wooden boxes with standard house screen on the bottom.
Propagule Processing: The very small seeds (< 2 mm) often fall through the screen, so we clean the floor before placing pods in the boxes and sweep up any seeds that fall through. Once pods have dried and begun to open we tumble them in our custom-made tumbler made of wood and 6 mm (0.25 in) mesh screen that resembles a bingo game tumble. Seeds fall to the floor and pods remain in the tumbler. Again, we sweep up the seeds and further clean them using a Clipper (Blufton, Indiana) with a 1-18 screen and the fan set at the lowest possible air flow.

Seeds excess to our annual needs are dried down to about 8% moisture content, placed in plastic bags inside sealed drums, and frozen at about –15 °C (5 °F). We have had good success germinating seeds stored 5 y at this temperature. Since seeds remain viable in storage, we collect surplus seeds in good seed years.

Pre-Planting Treatments: We always sow ninebark in fall (October). Seeds are drilled using a 7-row Love/Øyjord seeder. To get the very small seed to flow properly in our seeder, we mix seeds 1:1 (v:v) with sifted oak sawdust. We take sawdust, place it on window screen, and shake. Fine particles that sift through are mixed with seeds. Remember that the Love seeder calibrates based on total seed weight so to be accurate, crop seeds must be reweighed with the sawdust and the total weight used in calibration.

We plant our ninebark seed at approximately 0.45 kg of the seed and sawdust mixture per 98 m2 (1 lb/1050 ft2) of bed space. Seeds per kg varies widely, but 2.2 million (1 million/lb) is average. This is about 1770 seeds per linear m (540 per linear foot) with the 7-row seeder and may sound high, but ninebark typically has low viability. Over the years we have found this planting rate to produce well-stocked seedbeds of 110 to 130 seedlings per m2 (10 to 12/ft2).

Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Seeds are sown to a depth of 3 to 6 mm (0.125 to 0.25 in). We have sown seed deeper, but if germination occurs, it can take as much as a month longer. Seedbeds are covered with about 6 to 12 mm (0.25 to 0.5 in) of sawdust applied with a manure spreader. We then apply a thin layer of hydromulch to cover the sawdust and keep it from blowing away.
Establishment Phase: Ninebark is one of the earliest seeds to germinate at our nursery. It is up by late March. Occasional frosty mornings do not seem to hurt new seedlings.
Active Growth Phase: Beginning in late May we spread dry ammonium sulfate, 21N:0P2O5:0K2O:24SO4, at a rate of 140 kg/ha (125 lb/ac) over the crop, water it in, and repeat this application 4 to 6 times from late May to the end of July. At this rate, we apply about 45 to 68 kg (100 to 150 lb) nitrogen during the growing season. We irrigate regularly throughout the growing season and occasionally spray for leafhoppers (Homoptera:Cicadellidae) using a systemic insecticide (Astro (Permethrin) at 75 ml/ha (1 fluid oz/ac).
Hardening Phase: Seedlings are hardened off naturally in the bareroot bed during the fall.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Our minimum grade is 30 cm (12 inches) of height but most of our 1+0 seedlings are 46 to 92 cm (18 to 36 in) tall, with a caliper of 3 to 12 mm (0.125 to 0.5 in). During the last 4 y we have averaged about 5000 deliverable seedlings per kg of sown seed (11,000/lb). Ninebark is lifted in December or January (or whenever it is fairly dry as the large root mass make lifting very difficult when soil is wet), placed into cold storage (0.5 to 1.5 °C [33 to 35 ° F]), and kept moist.
Outplanting performance on typical sites: We have had excellent outplanting survival using this propagation protocol.
Other Comments: Although sometimes used in landscape for border screens and hedges, its ragged appearance makes it more suitable for wildland plantings. Ninebark grown at the George O White State Forest Nursery in Licking, Missouri, is used by private landowners and on public land primarily for erosion control, wetland plantings, and wildlife habitat.
References: Propagation Protocol for Ninebark, Hoss, G., Native Plants Journal, Spring 2001.

[ITIS] Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 2000. Biological names. Version 4.0 [on-line database]. URL: http://www.itis.usda.gov/plantproj/itis/itis-query.html (accessed 30 Oct 2000).

USDA NRCS. 1999. The PLANTS database, Version 3.0. URL: http://plants.usda.gov/plants (accessed 30 Oct 2000). Baton Rouge (LA): National Plant Data Center.

Hoss, Gregory A. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of field-grown Physocarpus opulifolius (L.) Maxim. plants (1+0 bareroot); George O. White State Forest Nursery, Licking, Missouri. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 5 September 2015). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.