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Picea (engelmannii)

Tara Luna
USDI NPS - Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
(406) 888-7835

Family Scientific Name: Pinaceae
Family Common Name: Pine family
Scientific Name: Picea engelmannii (Parry) Engelm.
Common Name: Engelmann Spruce
Species Code: PICENG
Ecotype: Spruce/Fir forest, West Glacier, Glacier National Park, Flathead Co., MT.,1100m elevation.
General Distribution: P. engelmannii occurs mostly above 1000 meters elevation,from southernB.C. to California, east of the Cascades, east to southwest Alberta and south through the Rocky Mountians to New Mexico and Arizona.
East of the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park, it readily hybridizes with Picea glauca.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 9 Months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling<br> Height: 15 cm<br> Caliper: 8 mm<br> Root System: firm plug in conetainer.
Propagule Collection: Cones are collected in late September and early October when cones turn tan and scales begin to reflex. Mature seeds are firm and dark brown to black in color.
Cones are collected in burlap sacks and spread over canvas tarp in the drying shed prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: Spruce seeds are sensitive to adverse storage conditions. Cones must be air dried and tumbled to extract the seeds. Seeds are dewinged.
Seed Storage is 5 to 17 years at 0C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as non- dormant.
Seeds/Kg: 260,000/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination:70% t0 80%
Pre-Planting Treatments: This species does not require stratification; however, pre chilling seeds and pre soaking increases germination energy and uniformity of emergence.
This species is reported to be light requiring. Pre-chilling the seeds overcomes the light requirement.
Seeds were surface sterlized with a 8:1 (v:v)water/bleach solution. Seeds are placed into a 48 hour running water rinse, followed by 30 to 60 day cold, moist stratification. Seeds are placed in fine mesh bags buried in moist peat moss in ventilated containers under refrigeration at 3C.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse and outdoor nursery growing facility.
Sowing Technique: Direct Seeding. Seeds are lightly covered with medium.
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.
Establishment Phase: Medium is kept slightly moist during germination. Picea is sensitive to excessive irrigation prior to and after germination. Careful attention to irrigation is needed at this stage. Germination is usually complete 2 weeks after sowing. Seedlings are thinned at the birdcage stage. Seedlings shed the seed coats 7 to 10 days after emergence.
After seedlings are well established, they must dry down slightly between irrigations. This practice will prevent post emergence damping-off disease and other root diseases.
Length of Establishment Phase: 3 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Plants were fertilized with 13-13-13 liquid NPK at 100 ppm during the growing season. Seedlings can be inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi at this stage. Plants were fully root tight 23 weeks after germination and averaged 10 cm in height.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 23 weeks
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm in August and September. Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Plants are leached with clear water once before winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 9 months
Harvest Date: September and October
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: 3L (1 gallon) containers can be produced in 2 years, with trees averaging 20 cm in height and 1.0 cm in caliper.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, 7th edition, University of Washington Press, 1973.
Seeding Rate Statistics for Native and Introduced Species, Hassell, Wendel, U.S.D.I. and U.S.D.A., April 1996.
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.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale; Hosokawa, Joy. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Picea engelmannii (Parry) Engelm. plants 172 ml conetainers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/11/28). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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