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Shepherdia (canadensis)

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: Shepherdia canadensis Nutt.
Common Name: Canadian Buffaloberry
Species Code: SHECAN
Ecotype: Aspen forest, Saint Mary, Glacier National Park, Glacier Co., MT.
General Distribution: S. canadensis is found from Alaska to Oregon, and east to the Atlantic coast in Canada and the northern U.S.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: vegetative
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 800 ml containers
Time To Grow: 2 Years
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container cutting<br> Height: 15 to 20 cm<br> Caliper: 8 mm<br> Root System: firm plug in 800 ml containers.
Propagule Collection: Propagation Method: Pre-Rooting.
Type of Cutting: Semi-softwood stem tip cuttings.
Cuttings are collected in May when leaf buds have just begun to break dormancy. Cuttings are 15 to 20 cm in length and 7 mm in caliper.
Propagule Processing: Cuttings are kept moist and under refrigeration prior to treatment.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Cutting Treatments: Cuttings were cut into 20 to 30 cm lengths, with the base recut and 1/3 of leaves or buds removed. Cuttings were placed in a 2 minute fungicide bath to remove surface pathogens.
Cuttings were treated with 8000 ppm IBA rooting hormone, and stuck in a mist bed with at least 2 nodes below the surface of the rooting medium.
Rooting %: 67%
Semi-softwood cuttings gave the highest rooting percentages when treated with 8000 ppm IBA.
Softwood cuttings treated with 1000 to 3000 ppm IBA had a rooting percentage of 15 to 27%.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
The outdoor mistbed has automatic intermittent mist that is applied at 6 second intervals every 6 minutes. Too frequent misting will result in leaf and stem rot. Misting frequency is increased or decreased according to daily outdoor temperature and wind.
Bottom heat is maintained at 21C with heating cables buried 12 cm beneath rooting medium. Rooting medium is 50% perlite and 50% sand.
Mistbed is covered with shadecloth during rooting. After cuttings are potted, they are moved to an outdoor shadehouse for 2 weeks. They are later moved to full sun exposure in the outdoor nursery and 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 avereage frost is September 5th, although freezing temperatures can be expected anytime in Glacier National Park.
Establishment Phase: Time to Transplant: 8 weeks.
Cuttings that were pre rooted were lifted out of mistbed after adequete root systems were formed. Roots generate from the basal cut below the surface of the rooting media.
Length of Establishment Phase: 8 weeks
Active Growth Phase: After cuttings were lifted from the mistbed, they were potted into 800 ml containers. Growing medium used is 70% 6:1:1 milled spaghnum peat, perlite, and vermiculite and 30% coarse sand and perlite 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 2 grams of Osmocote and 1 gram of Micromax per container. Cuttings were irrigated after potting and placed in the shadehouse for 2 weeks. After establishment in the shadehouse, plants were moved to full sun exposure in the outdoor nursery.
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. Plants were given one final irrigation prior to winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 8 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: 2 years from cuttings
Harvest date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam and snow.

Storage Duration: October to April
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: Sheperdia grows at a moderate rate from seeds and cuttings. Seedlings would benefit from Frankia rhizobacteria inoculation during production.
Because it forms a symbiotic relationship with N-fixing bacteria, Sheperdia is a good restoration species on sites with poor soils.
Sheperdia is a source of winter browse for deer and elk and bears and birds feed on the fruit.
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.
Seed Germination Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition, N. Deno, published June 1993.
Glacier Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.


Luna, Tara; Corey, Susan; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Shepherdia canadensis Nutt. plants 800 ml containers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/07/27). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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