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Elaeagnus (commutata)

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

Family Scientific Name: Elaeagnaceae
Family Common Name: Oleaster family
Scientific Name: Elaeagnus commutata Bernh. ex Rydb.
Common Synonym: Elaeagnus argentea Pursh, non Moench
Common Name: Silverberry
Species Code: ELECOM
Ecotype: Open rocky slopes, Saint Mary, 1500m elevation, Glacier National Park, MT.
General Distribution: E. commutata occurs from B.C. to Quebec, south through the Rocky Mountains to Idaho, Montana and Utah. It is frequently found in moist slopes and in riparian zones at mid to low elevations.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 8 Months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container cutting<br> Height: 30 cm<br> Caliper: 5 mm<br> Root System: firm plug in 172 ml containers.
Propagule Collection: Seeds are hand collected when fruit turns silver in late August through September.
Seeds are brown at maturity. Seeds are stored in plastic bags under refrigeration prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are cleaned by maceration using a Dybvig seed cleaner and are air dried.
Seed longevity is 1 to 3 years at 3 to 5C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: 8,360/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 50%
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seeds are placed into a 48 hour running water rinse in warm water to remove a soluble inhibitor. Next, seeds are placed in a 60 day cold, moist stratification. Seeds are placed in fine mesh bags and buried in moist peat moss in ventilated containers under refrigeration at 3 C.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse and Outdoor Nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Direct Seeding. Seeds are covered with medium. 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.

Greenhouse temperatures are maintained at 21 to 25C during the day and 16 to 18C at night. 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.
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. First average frost is September 5th, although freezing temperatures can be expected anytime in Glacier National Park.
Establishment Phase: Germination is uniform and usually complete in 2 weeks.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Seedling growth is rapid following germination. Plants are fertilized with 20-20-20 liquid NPK at 100 ppm. Seedlings increase in height to 17 centimeters in 10 weeks.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 14 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. Plants were given one final irrigation prior to winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 8 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: 8 months
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: E. commutata is an excellent restoration species for slope and streambank stabilization.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1990.
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.
Glacier Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.
Growing Colorado Plants from Seed, A State of the Art. Vol. 1: Shrubs, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, UT., U.S.F.S. General Technical Report INT-103.
Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, Baskin and Baskin, Academic Press, 1998.


Wick, Dale; Hosokawa, Joy; Johnson, Kathy. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Elaeagnus commutata Bernh. ex Rydb. 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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