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Elymus (glaucus)

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

Family Scientific Name: Poaceae
Family Common Name: Grass family
Scientific Name: Elymus glaucus Buckl.
Common Name: Blue wild rye
Species Code: ELYGLA
Ecotype: Subalpine meadows, Logan Pass, Glacier National Park, Glacier Co., MT. 2032m elevation.
General Distribution: E. glaucus occurs from southern Alaska south to California, east to northern Ontario, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, south through the Rockies to New Mexico. It occurs in prairies, open woods, dry to moist hills, lowland to the subalpine zone.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 172 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 8 Months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling<br> Height: 6 to 10 true leaves; 35 to 40 cm, trimmed backed to 10 cm.<br> Caliper: n/a<br> Root System: firm plug in conetainer.
Propagule Collection: Seeds are collected in mid to late August when florets turn papery and light tan and seeds are easily stripped out of florets. Hand held sickles are also used to cut fully ripened stalks. Seeds are spread on an open tarp in drying shed and turned twice a day during the drying and curing process.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are cleaned using a hammermill and office clipper at NRCS.
Seed Storage is estimated at 5 to 7 years at 3 to 5 C in sealed containers.
Seed dormancy is classified as non dormant.
Seeds/Kg: 300,000 /kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: 40 to 50%
Pre-Planting Treatments: 5 month outdoor stratification. Stratification may not be necessary for lower elevation seed sources.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
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.
Conetainers are filled and sown in late fall and irrigated thoroughly prior to winter stratification. Seedlings germinate in spring under fluctuating outdoor temperatures and are grown under full sun exposure. 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: Medium is kept slightly moist during germination. Initial germination appeared uniform and occurred following several days of temperatures at 21C or above during the day.
Length of Establishment Phase: 2 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Root and shoot development occurs rapidly following germination. 4 to 6 true leaves were evident 3 weeks after germination. Plants are rhizomatous and quickly fill containers. Plants were fertilized with 20-20-20 liquid NPK fertilizer during the growing season.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 10 weeks
Hardening Phase: Plants not outplanted first year were hardened off in September and October.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 8 months using a long stratification.
Harvest Date: July
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: Fill rate and rate of growth of this species is higher compared to other subalpine grass species.
There are 3 botanical varieties; var. breviaristatus, var. jepsonii, var. glaucus.
Vegetative Propagation Method: Divisions can be done to established nursery stock as a method of increase.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, 7th edition, University of Washington Press, 1973.
Seeding Rate Statistics for Native and Introduced Species, Hassell, Wendel, U.S.D.I. and U.S.D.A., April 1996.
Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, Baskin and Baskin, Academic Press, 1998.
Seed Germination Theory and Practice, Deno, Norman, Penn State University, 1993.
Glacier National Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.
1999 Revegetation Monitoring Report, Glacier National Park, Asebrook, J. and Brenneman, B., unpublished.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Elymus glaucus Buckl. plants 172 ml conetainers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/05/13). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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