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Sambucus (racemosa)

USDA NRCS - Corvallis Plant Materials Center
3415 NE Granger Ave
Corvallis, Oregon 58413

Family Scientific Name: Caprifoliaceae
Family Common Name: Honeysuckle
Scientific Name: Sambucus racemosa L.
Common Synonym: Sambucus racemosa L. pubens (Michx) House var arborescens (Torr. And Gray)
Common Name: red elderberry
Species Code: SARA2
Ecotype: Crater Lake National Park, 6,000 to 6,500 ft elevation on moist soils at base of cliffs; protected areas
General Distribution: Widely distributed across Northern north America; except for southern and south-central plains states; more commonly at low to moderate elevations
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: vegetative
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 2-year 1-gallon containers
Time To Grow: 2 Years
Target Specifications: multi-stemmed with healthy, dark green foliage; roots reaching to bottom of container
Propagule Collection: 1-year wood collected well after flowering and berry ripeness; late September at Crater Lakes; placed into cool moist peat/ leaves trimmed back at collection time with just a little foliage retained
Propagule Processing: Cuttings could be successfully stored in moist peat in walk-in cooler for a few months prior to sticking if necessary
Pre-Planting Treatments: no special treatment; in our experience none of the rooting hormones enhanced success
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Cuttings stuck into a light-textured, soil-free rooting medium (vermiculite) and placed into cool, shaded (60% shadecloth) greenhouse propagation bed, no bottom heat, under low rates of intermittent mist.
Establishment Phase: Cuttings took several weeks to begin rooting; ultimately about 60% rooted with this method and were ready for transplanting by January
Length of Establishment Phase: 3 months
Active Growth Phase: Well-rooted cuttings were potted up into one-gallon pots containing an organic-rich mixture of peat / perlite / compost amended with small amounts of Osmocote slow-release N-P-K and Micromax trace elements; and moved to an outdoor lathhouse for overwintering. Pots should be held up off the ground for drainage and periodically we had to remove liverwort and moss growth in early spring. During active growth phase (May to August of the 2nd year) plants were moved to the shadehouse with drip irrigation; fertilized every 2 weeks during May and June with half-strength Peters' Triple-20. Generally by June pots needed to be spread out a bit to provide room for the developing foliage
Length of Active Growth Phase: April to August
Hardening Phase: Fertilizer stopped in July; periods between waterings gradually lengthened in August and shade cloth removed at end of August for full-sun acclimation. Plants were generally showing good bud set and at least some stem suberization by the end of August.
Length of Hardening Phase: 2 months
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Plants were well-watered just prior to shipping via refrigerated van to Crater Lake at the end of August; if needed they could be held over winter in the lathhouse or in a walk-in cooler but may need some fresh compost / soil mix by the following spring.
Length of Storage: see above
Other Comments: Propagation by seed was also conducted at PMC; berries are easily collected in late August - early September and extracted by depulping in a blender with dull blades in a water slurry; then strained / drained and spread on paper towels to dry. Seeds are known to survive in "cool, dry conditions" for several years. In one small trial at the PMC a lot of seeds which tested 70% viable by means of Tz testing conducted at OSU were soaked in 1,000 ppm GA-3 for 2 hours; then cold-moist stratified in flats filled with a peat-based seedling started mix for 92 days with low success - 3% of seeds germinated after 60 days in a greenhouse at moderate growing temperatures; with additional seedlings emerging one or two at a time over the next few months.
References: Hitchcock , C.L. and A. Cronquist 1973 Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle Wa.

Kruckeberg, Aurthur R. 1982. Gardening With Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest: An Illustrated Guide. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press.

Link, Ellen, ed. 1993 Native Plant Propagation Techniques for National Parks Interim Guide; Compiled by Rose Lake Plant Materials Center 7472 Stoll Road East Lansing, MI 48823

Rose, Robin, C.E.C. Chachulski and D. Haase. Propagation of Pacific Northwest Native Plants 1998 Or. State U. Press, Corvallis, Oregon

USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.


Flessner, Theresa R; Trindle, Joan D.C.. 2003. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Sambucus racemosa L. plants 2-year 1-gallon containers; USDA NRCS - Corvallis Plant Materials Center Corvallis, Oregon. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/03/01). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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