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Prunus (virginiana)

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

Family Scientific Name: Rosaceae
Family Common Name: Rose family
Scientific Name: Prunus virginiana L.
Common Name: Common chokecherry
Species Code: PRUVIR
Ecotype: Open forested slopes, Saint Mary, 1371m elev.
General Distribution: P. virginiana occurs from B.C. to Newfoundland, south to California east throughout the Western States to New Mexico, also the Dakotas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
Chokecherry is common in lower-elevation coniferous forests. It also occurs in montane chaparral, mountain shrub communities, and the upper limits of treeline in the mountains. In Great Plains grasslands, it mostly occurs in wooded draws, grassland-woodland interfaces, and riparian zones.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 7 Months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling<br> Height: 15 cm<br> Caliper: 7 mm<br> Root System: firm plug in conetainers.
Propagule Collection: Fruits are collected in September when flesh color is deep red to black.
Seeds are tan at maturity.
Fruits are collected in plastic bags and kept under refrigeration prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are extracted from pulp by maceration using a Dyb-Vig cleaner and screens at NRCS.
Seed longevity is 5 to 10 years at 3 to 5C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: 10,500/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 80 to 85%
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seeds are placed in 3:1 (v:v) water:3%hydrogen peroxide soak for 10 minutes, followed by a 48 hour running water rinse. Seeds are placed into a 90 day cold, moist stratification.
Seeds are placed in fine mesh bags after pretreatment and buried in moist peat moss in a ventilated containers under refrigeration at 3C.
Seeds often begin to crack or germinate at 3ΓΈ C during cold, moist stratification after 90 days, and are planted as germinants. Do not sow seed lot until there is visible cracking in at least 50% of stratified seeds. Some seed sources may require a longer stratification period (up to 150 days).
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse and outdoor nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Planting Germinants. Seeds are 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.
Average growing season of nursery is from late April after snowmelt until October 15th.
Establishment Phase: Cotyledon to true leaf stage is 2 weeks. Seedlings are thinned at this stage.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Seedling growth is rapid following germination. Plants are fertilized with 13-13-13 liquid NPK at 100 ppm and increase in height to 17 centimeters in 8 weeks.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 12 weeks
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm during August and September. Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Pots are flushed with clear water before winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: 7 months
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam and snow. One final irrigation is applied prior to overwintering.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: P. virginiana is highly useful for erosion control and readily establishes in cut over areas.
It is browsed by deer and elk and the berries are eaten by bears and many species of birds.
Prunus is easily propagated by seeds.
Root tight 3L (1 gallon) containers can be produced in 1.5 years with and average caliper of 2.0 cm and heights up to 45 cm.
Vegetative Propagation Method: Yes, but not tried.
This species has been rooted using terminal and basal cuttings collected in June treated with 8000 ppm IBA talc; under mist and bottom heat.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, University of Washington Press,7th printing, 1973.
Seeds of the Woody Plants in North America, Young and Young, Dioscorides Press, 1992.
Seeds of the Woody Plants in the United States, Agriculture Handbook No. 450, U.S.F.S., Washington D.C., 1974.
Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, Baskin and Baskin, Academic Press, 1998.
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation, Dirr and Heuser, Varsity Press, 1987.
Glacier Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.
1996 Revegetation Monitoring Report, Glacier National Park, Asebrook, J., Lamb, B., and Funk, T., unpublished.
1998 Revegetation Monitoring Report, Glacier National Park, Asebrook, J. and Kimball, S., unpublished.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Prunus virginiana L. plants 172 ml conetainers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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