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Abies (lasiocarpa)

Lee Riley
USDA FS - Dorena Genetic Resource Center
34963 Shoreview Road
Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424
541-767-5709 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Pinaceae
Family Common Name: Pine
Scientific Name: Abies lasiocarpa
Common Name: Subalpine Fir
Species Code: ABLA
Ecotype: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington
General Distribution: Subalpine coniferous forests 600 - 3600 meters within southeastern Alaska south to California, and in the Rocky Mountains to northeastern Arizona and New Mexico.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 262 ml (16 in3) container
Time To Grow: 18 months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling Root System: Firm plug in container.
Propagule Collection: Collect cones early through mid September. Seeds can be damaged easily.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seeds are placed in fine mesh bags into a 1% hydrogen peroxide (3:1 water/3% hydrogen peroxide) soak for 24 hours, rinsed, and placed in water for an additional 24 hours. The bags are placed in sealed containers in refrigeration at 1 to 3 °C for 90 days.
It is very important to check seeds weekly. If mold is evident, seeds should be treated with 1% hydrogen peroxide.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse growing facility.
Seeds are directly sown into containers. Seeds are lightly covered with nursery grit.
Growing medium used is 40:20:20:20 peat:composted fir bark:perlite:pumice with Nutricote controlled release fertilizer (18N:6P2O5:8K2O with minors; 180-d release rate at 21C) at the rate of 1.5 gram Nutricote per 262 ml container.
Establishment Phase: Germination is somewhat slow and uneven, and may take up to 3 to 4 weeks to be complete. Once the majority of germination has occurred, seedlings are fertilized for 3 weeks with soluble 12-2-14-6Ca-3Mg at 75 to 100 ppm.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: A. lasiocarpa may take up to 2 years to fill a container and reach appropriate target height for outplanting. During the first growing season, fertilization depends on weather and physiological needs. Soluble 20-9-20 NPK, 20-18-18 NPK, or 17-5-24 NPK at a range of 100 to 150 ppm is applied weekly throughout the growing season.
In the spring of the second growing season, seedlings are hand-fertilized with Apex controlled release fertilizer (16N:5P2O5:10K2O; 6- to 7-month release rate at 21C) at the rate of 2 g Apex per 444 ml container. Throughout the remainder of the growing season, seedlings are fertilized weekly with soluble 20-9-20 NPK or 20-18-18 NPK at a rate of 150 ppm.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 20 weeks
Hardening Phase: No dry-down is done to induce dormancy. Seedlings are moved to an outdoor growing area in early September.
Length of Hardening Phase: 3 to 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Harvest Date: Mid-October
Storage Conditions: Seedlings are usually outplanted in fall. No storage except in outdoor growing area. Plants are well irrigated prior to shipping and shipped in containers.
Seedlings can be extracted in early December and frozen until spring outplanting.
Length of Storage: 3 to 4 months
Other Comments: Restricted to cold, humid habitats due to a low tolerance to high temperatures. Relies on cool summers, cold winters, and heavy snowpack.
Cones may not begin to be produced until the tree is 20 or more years old, and seed production generally begins on even older trees. Maximum seed production is from trees 150 to 200 years old. Usually good seed crops happen every 3 to 5 years.
FACU wetland status in the west.

References: Dorena Genetic Resource Center Propagation Records, unpublished.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. nd. Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt.. URL:
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ABLA (accessed 16 Oct 2019).

Nesom G. 2000. Subalpine fir Abies lasiocarpa (Hook.) Nutt. Chapel Hill (NC): University of North Carolina, North Carolina Botanical Garden. URL: https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_abla.pdf (accessed 16 Oct 2019).

Uchytil RJ. 1991. Abies lasiocarpa. In: Fire Effects Information System. Missoula (MT): USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station,
Fire Sciences Laboratory. URL:
https://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/abilas/all.html (accessed 16 Oct 2019).

University of Washington. nd. Subalpine fir Abies lasiocarpa. URL: https://depts.washington.edu/propplnt/Plants/Abies%20lasiocarpa.htm (accessed 16 Oct 2019).


Riley, Lee E.; Fisher, Leslie. 2020. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Abies lasiocarpa Plants 262 ml (16 in3) container; USDA FS - Dorena Genetic Resource Center Cottage Grove, Oregon. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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