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Artemisia (tridentata)

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

Family Scientific Name: ASTERACEAE
Family Common Name: Sunflower Family
Scientific Name: Artemisia tridentata Nutt. vasseyena (Rydb.) Beetle
Common Name: Big sagebrush
Species Code: ARTTRI
Ecotype: Idaho fescue grassland, Big Prairie, Glacier National Park, Flathead Co., MT
General Distribution: A. tridentata occurs on dry plains and hills to near treeline in the mountains; from B.C. to Baja California, east throughout the West to North Dakota and New Mexico.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 10 Months
Target Specifications: Height: 6 to 10 true leaves, 6 cm<br> Caliper: 1.7 mm<br> Root System: firm plug in 172 ml conetainer
Propagule Collection: Seeds are collected in October. Seeds are collected when the seeds turn brown and are easily pulled from the receptacles. Seeds must be collected as soon as the seeds ripen fully; too early or too late collection often results in the collection of non-viable or aborted seeds. Seeds are collected in paper bags and kept in a well ventilated drying shed prior to cleaning. Collections should be spread evenly over a tarp to dry for 3 to 5 days.
Propagule Processing: Small seed lots are hand cleaned by screens.
Seed longevity is at least 2 years in sealed containers at 1C.
Seed dormancy is classified as non deep physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: 5,500,000 /kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 50%
Pre-Planting Treatments: 5 month outdoor winter stratification. There are differences in temperature requirements for optimum germination among different subspecies and ecotypes of this species.
Seed germination is reported to be higher when seed is collected late in the season, germinated under fluctuating temperatures, and when seeds are surface sown.
Some populations have seed dormancy while others are reported to be non dormant. Testing of individual lots will determine the need or duration of pre chilling for optimum germination.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Outdoor nursery growing facility.

Sowing Method: Direct Seeding.Seeds are surface sown; needs light for germination.

Growing media used is milled sphagnum peat,perlite, and vermiculite with Osmocote controlled release fertilizer (13N:13P2O5:13K2O; 8 to 9 month release rate at 21C) andMicromax 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 Osmocite and 0.20 gram of Micromax per 172 ml conetainer.
Conetainers are filled and sown in late fall and irrigated thoroughly prior to winter stratification.
Establishment Phase: Medium is kept slightly moist during germination. Initial germination appeared uniform and occurred following 2 weeks of temperatures at 22C or above during in early spring.
2 to 4 true leaves were evident 3 weeks after germination.
Careful attention to irrigation frequency is needed during the establishment phase and should be done in early morning so foliage can dry during the day. Once established, seedlings should dry down between irrigations.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Root and shoot development occurs rapidly following germination.
Plants were occasionally fertilized with 20-20-20 NPK liquid fertilizer at 100 ppm during the growing season.
Plants were fully root tight 12 weeks after germination. Plants were 2.5 cm in height with 10 to 12 true leaves.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 12 weeks
Hardening Phase: Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Plants are flushed with clear water and fertilized with 10-20-20 NPK liquid fertilizer at 200 ppm once before winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 10 months using a 5 month cold, moist stratification. Production time can be shortened if using a shorter stratification period.
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: A. tridentata is widely used for reclamation and restoration projects throughout the western United States.
It is an important browse species for muledeer, elk, antelope and mountain sheep. Small rodents, squirrels and grouse utilize leaves,flowers and fruit as a food source.
References: 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.
Growing Colorado Plants From Seed; A State of the Art. Vol. 3 : Forbs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NTIS General Report, 1982.
Seed Germination Theory and Practice, Deno, Norman, Penn State University, 1993.
Glacier National Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.
Propagation Of Pacific Northwest Native Plants, Rose, R., Chachluski, E., and Haase, D., Oregon State University Press, 1998.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Artemisia tridentata Nutt. plants 172 ml conetainers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/10/23). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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