Home Native Plant Network
NPN Protocol Details Image

Gaylussacia (baccata)

John M. Englert
USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center
Bldg. 509, BARC - East, E. Beaver Dam Road
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
(301) 504-8175
(301) 504-8741 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Ericaceae
Family Common Name: Heath Family
Scientific Name: Gaylussacia baccata
Common Name: Black huckleberry
Species Code: GAYBAC
Ecotype: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
General Distribution: Louisiana east to Florida and North to Maine, Iowa and Manitoba.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 1 gal container
Time To Grow: 42 Months
Target Specifications: Height: Projected probably 18".<p> Caliper: N/A.<p> Root System: To fill 1 gallon container.
Propagule Collection: Collected in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Look Rock trail to tower, Bushy Mountain by J. Marshall and A. Johnson on 7/17 and 7/22/95; and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park - Kentucky/Virginia border by J. Copeland in 8/92.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Hand cleaned.
Seeds/Kg: Approximately 735,000.
Germination: Untested.
Purity: 90-99%.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed Treatments: After sowing, seed trays are given a 1 month period of warm moist stratification with alternating day-night temperatures (optimum is 86/68§F though our greenhouse averaged about 75/65§F), followed by two months cool moist stratification at approximately 45-50§F. During warm stratification, trays may be placed on heat mats and covered with clear plastic to conserve moisture. Night temperatures need to be adjusted downwards.

Seed dormancy: overcome by 1 month warm stratification followed by 2 month cool stratification (see Seed Treatments). Germination occurs when trays are returned to warm conditions.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment:Greenhouse.

Seed Propagation Method: Hand sown.

Container Type and Volume: Seed is sown in 10x20 germination flats or 4x4 trays; and transplanted successively to 72 plug trays, 2" pots, quarts and gallons, depending on growth.

Growing Media: Seed is sown on a 2:1 mix of peat/perlite or 1:1 mix of peat/sand, both amended with dolomitic lime @ about 40 grams per cubic foot of media. Seedlings going into smaller containers (<1 quart) are transplanted into a 1:1 mix of Sunshine #1:peat amended with lime and micronutrients at recommended rate. Larger plants (1 quart and up) are transplanted to 2:1:1 mix of Sunshine #1:peat:pine bark. Micronutrients may be added.
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: Seeds may be sown in January, March or August. All will work providing stratification protocol is followed. Plants from March 26, 2000 seeding were still only 1/2 inch tall in November. January sowing appears to allow the most first season growth.

% Emergence and Date: Germination occurred at about 20% after removal from cooler and return to warm greenhouse temperatures. Thiswas approximately 3 months after sowing.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Seeds were sown by hand over surface of media and then lightly drenched with fungicide (Triathlon was used). Trays were covered with plastic domes or clear plastic to prevent the media surface from drying. During the first 30 days, seed trays were kept under 24 hour fluorescent light in greenhouse with alternating day/night temperatures. Seed trays were then given a fungicidal drench, covered with clear plastic and cool stratified @ between 45 and 50§F for 60 days. After cool stratification, seed trays were returned to the greenhouse and placed under mist until well-germinated. They were treated for fungus gnats as needed. The newly germinated seedlings seem to tolerate extended periods of mist without much adverse effect.

Establishment Phase: Seedlings are very slow growing. During establishment, it is important to keep the soil surface evenly moist. Do not allow media to remain saturated, dry out or develop a surface crust. Fungus gnats can become a problem and larval feeding may damage seedling roots, therefore treatment may be necessary. Seedlings are transplanted after 4 - 7 months in germination trays into a sand/peat or media/peat mixture in 72 trays or 2" pots. Plugs are fertilized infrequently (as needed) with a water-soluble fertilizer for acid-loving plants at recommended rates.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: Species is very slow growing. After approximately 1 year plants are bumped up to quarts or 1/2 gallon pots, and then to gallons the second or third year.
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: Plants were moved outdoors and grown in the NPMC shade house with overhead irrigation from April - November the third season.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: None have been delivered to the Park as of this writing. We expect that it will take two seasons of growth in gallon containers before they are ready for outplanting.

Total Time to Harvest: Estimated 3 years from germination to delivery to park as gallon sized container plants.

Seed storage: Stored dry in plastic container in cooler at 40§F, 35% relative humidity.

Storage Conditions: Seedlings were over-wintered in the NPMC cooler @40§F, 35% relative humidity for their first two winters. The third winter, plants are being over-wintered in gallon containers under microfoam outdoors. Seedlings that were sown in March are too small and will be kept for the winter in the greenhouse.
Length of Storage: Storage Duration: 4 months.
Other Comments: Extremely slow growing. First year seedlings developed glaucous coating on leaves while in greenhouse. Second season leaves did not have this coating. Several flats dried out during stratification so it is important to keep them covered and moist. High peat content may reduce pH over time requiring repotting or liming to keep pH @ about 5. Treat for fungus gnats, remove algae and moss and prevent crust from forming on media.
References: Bonner, F. T., and Lowell K. Halls, Seeds of Woody Plants in the United States Forest Service USDA Handbook No. 450, 19974 pp. 427 & 428.

Dirr, Michael A. 1990. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. 4th Edition. Stipes Publishing Co.


Kujawski, Jennifer L.; Davis, Kathy M.. 2002. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Gaylussacia baccata plants 1 gal container; USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center Beltsville, Maryland. 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.

Personal tools