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Arctostaphylos (uva-ursi)

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

Family Scientific Name: Ericaceae
Family Common Name: Heath family
Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng
Common Name: Bearberry
Species Code: ARCUVA
Ecotype: Open Lodgepole pine forest, West Glacier, Glacier National Park, 1100 m.
General Distribution: A. uva-ursi is a circumboreal species; occurring from Alaska to Labrador, south to coastal California, Idaho, Montana, and through the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico, and east to the central and eastern U.S. It is found throughout Eurasia. It grows on a variety of soils from sea level to 2500 meters elevation.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainer
Time To Grow: 1 Years
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling<br> Height: 3 cm<br> Caliper:7 mm of main stem<br> Root System: Firm plug in container.
Propagule Collection: Seeds are collected in late fall when fruit turns dark red. Seeds are tan at maturity. Fruit is collected in plastic bags and kept under refrigeration prior to cleaning.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are cleaned by maceration using a Dyb-vig seed cleaner and are screened and dried.
Seed longevity: up to 20 years at 3 to 5 C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as physical- physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: 80,400/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination:80%
Pre-Planting Treatments: Sulfuric acid scarification for 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on thickness of seed coats of the seed lot. Once seedcoats have softened to be cut with a sharp knife, the acid bath must be terminated immediately. Seeds must be thoroughly rinsed in running water for at least 30 minutes after treatment.
Seeds are then placed in a 48 hour water soak followed by a 60 day warm, moist stratification and a 90 day cold moist stratification in moistened peat moss. Length of acid scarification and subsequent germination varies widely between seed sources.
At the base of each nutlet there is a channel through which the radicle is forced during germination. The channel is plugged at seed maturity with a hard material that is slightly softer than the woody covering of the nutlet. Acid scarification dissolves this plug so that germination can proceed. The polymorphic nature of the seeds makes optimum duration of acid scarification difficult to determine. Some seeds coalesce together and are more resistant to scarification than single seeds. Acid scarification of a given duration to induce germination with seeds will kill some seeds and fails to remove the plug in other seeds within the same seed lot.
An alternative scarification method is use of heat and smoke from fire; this has not been tried at Glacier.
Seed is placed in a flat containing dry soil at 0.5 cm planting depth with 7 to 10 cm of pine needles covering the surface, and the needles are burned. Flats are left outside overwinter.
This method has been effective for greenleaf manzanita and should be tried with this species.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse and Outdoor Nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Direct Seeding. Seeds are covered with media.
Growing media used is 70% 6:1:1 milled sphagnum peat,perlite, and vermiculite and 30% sand 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.
Establishment Phase: Germination is usually complete in 4 weeks. True leaves appear 2 weeks after germination.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: After establishment, seedlings grow at a moderate rate. Plants are fertilized with 20-20-20 NPK liquid fertilizer at 100 ppm during the active growth stage.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 17 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: 1 year
Harvest Date: September and October
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: A. uva-ursi is a seral, shade intolerant species; sometimes a pioneer species at higher elevations. It is useful for planting on steep slopes for erosion control.
Foilage and stems are browsed by deer, elk, moose and bighorn sheep. Berries are eaten by birds, small mammals, deer, elk, and bears.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1985.
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.
Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, Baskin and Baskin, Academic Press, 1998.
Propagation of Pacific Northwest Native Plants, Rose, R., Chachulski, C., and Haase, D., Oregon State University Press, 1998.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng plants 172 ml conetainer; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/09/30). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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