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Alnus (viridis)

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

Family Scientific Name: Betulaceae
Family Common Name: Birch Family
Scientific Name: Alnus viridis (Chaix.) DC. sinuata (Regel) Love & Love
Common Synonym: Alnus sinuata (Regel) Rydb.
Common Name: Sitka alder
Species Code: ALNVIR
Ecotype: Forest margin, Lake McDonald drainage, 1000m elev. Glacier National Park, Flathead Co., MT.
General Distribution: A. viridis is a circumpolar species and is found from Alaska to California, east to Idaho and Montana, in moist places from mid elevations to the subalpine zone. It is common in avalanche slopes and wet open forests.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml containers
Time To Grow: 6 Months
Target Specifications: Height: 25 cm<br> Caliper: 1.0 cm<br> Root System: Firm plug in 172 ml container.
Propagule Collection: Seeds are collected in late September to mid October when catkins have turn woody and scales begin to open. Seeds are collected by flailing branches over a canvas tarp. Seeds are swepted into paper collection bags and kept in a well ventilated drying shed place prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are extracted by tumbling catkins> It is difficult to separate empty seeds from sound seeds.
Seed Storage: 1 year at 1 to 3C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as non dormant.
Seeds/Kg: 14,700,000/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 50 to 70% estimated using fresh seed.
Pre-Planting Treatments: 24 hour water soak followed by a 60 day cold, moist stratification. A 60 day cold, moist stratification facilitates more uniform germination.
Seeds are placed in fine mesh bags and are buried in moist milled peat moss in a well ventilated container in the refrigerator at 3C.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse and outdoor nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Direct Seeding. Surface sow seeds for 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. Seedlings are hand watered an remain in greenhouse until mid May. Seedlings are then moved to outdoor nursery for the remainder of the growing season.
Establishment Phase: Germination is uniform and is usually complete in 3 weeks. True leaves appear 2 weeks after germination. Seedlings are thinned at this stage.
Length of Establishment Phase: 3 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Seedlings grow at a rapid rate after establishment. Plants are fertilized with 13-13-13 liquid NPK at 100 ppm during the growing season. Plants average 4 cm in height and 5 mm caliper in 4 months. Plants can be uppotted into 3L ( 1 gallon) containers 16 weeks after germination, and be root tight in 1 year.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 16 to 20 weeks
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm in the fall, pots are leached with clear water, one final irrigation is applied before overwintering.
Length of Hardening Phase: 8 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 9 months
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: Seedlings can be grown in 172 ml (10 cu in)containers in 6 months.
Trees in 3L (1 gallon )containers average 25 cm in height with 1.6 cm caliper 16 months following germination. A. sinuata is a pioneer species, and is an invader of talus slopes, avalanche chutes, seeps, and high elevation swales. It is an indicator of high water tables.
Alnus fors symbiotic relationships with ecto-mycorhizzal fungi and Frankia; a Nitrogen fixing bacteria. Thus, it is valuable for slope stablization and in areas of sterile soils.
Vegetative Propagation Method: Pre-Rooting, not done.
Type of Cutting: Summer softwood stem cutting. Cuttings taken from late May through June, treated with 8000 ppm IBA talc under mist and bottom heat have been successful for other Alnus species.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1981.
Seeds of the Woody Plants in the United States, Agriculture Handbook No. 450, U.S.F.S., Washington D.C., 1974.
Seeds of Woody Plants in North America, Young and Young, Dioscorides Press, 1992.
Seed Germination Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition, Deno, N., published June,1993.
Glacier Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.
The Fire Effects Information System. Missoula, MT: USDA Forest Service,Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory.


Luna, Tara; Wick, Dale; Hosokawa, Joy. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Alnus viridis (Chaix.) DC. plants 172 ml containers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/04/11). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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