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Prunus (serotina)

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: Rosaceae
Family Common Name: Rose Family
Scientific Name: Prunus serotina
Common Name: Black cherry
Species Code: PRUSER
Ecotype: National Capital Parks-East
General Distribution: Nova Scotia west to North Dakota and south to Florida, Arizona, and Guatemala. Found along road and forest edges and in thickets.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Plug + (container-field grown hybrids)
Time To Grow: 0
Target Specifications: Stock Type: 1-1/2 to 2 gallon container seedlings. Height: 36-48 inches. Root System: Full, fibrous rootball inside container.
Propagule Collection: Collected at National Capital Parks-east, Oxon Run Parkway by J. Kujawski on 8/26/97.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Fruit was processed in a Dybvig separator to remove flesh from seeds.
Seeds/Kg: Approximately 4,600.
Germination: 10% germination.
Purity: 100% pure.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed Treatments: We sowed seed outdoors in the fall to take advantage of natural stratification.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Outdoor nursery beds.

Seed Propagation Method: Hand-sowing seed in rows.

Container Type and Volume: Plants harvested bareroot were transplanted into 1 gallon containers and later 2 gallon containers for Parks.

Growing Media: Container materials were planted into woody mix (3.8 cu ft. bale Sunshine #1, 4 cu. ft. of pine bark mulch, 20 oz. Nutricote and approximately 20 oz. endomycorrhizae).
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: October.

% Emergence and Date: Seedlings emerged in the spring following fall sowing.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Seeds were hand sown into rows (rows were 5 to 6 inches apart, seeds were spaced 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart in rows). Endomycorrhizae were sprinkled over the seed before covering with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil. The beds were then mulched with aged sawdust.

Establishment Phase: Sawdust mulch was scraped back in spring prior to seedling emergence. Newly emerged seedlings were monitored closely for irrigation needs.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: Because National Plant Materials Center soil is a nutrient poor sandy loam, almost all seedlings in our woody plant nursery beds are fertilized from mid-April with a granular 10-10-10 once a week through early June. From mid-June through late July, the 10-10-10 is alternated with a granular urea every other week. From late July through late August the seedlings are fertilized with 10-10-10 every two weeks. Overhead irrigation is used after every fertilization. The rate of water applied is determined by soil moisture prior to irrigation.
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: During mid- to late summer, fertilization in the woody plant beds is cut back to twice monthly. Beginning in September, irrigation is only used in a severe droughty situation.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: Bareroot seedlings were harvested after 1 year in the field; container plants were ready after 1 additional growing season.

Harvest Date: Black cherry seedlings were harvested bareroot in December, after 1 growing season.

Storage Conditions: Bareroot plants were bundled into groups and long roots were trimmed. Bundles were placed into plastic bins and roots were covered with sawdust. Bins were placed into a cold storage room (40§F) and watered as needed during the winter. Gallon size and larger container plants were stored outside under 2 layers of a microfoam insulating blanket. The blanket was secured over plants by threading a rope over the blanket between rebar anchors on either side of a block of plants.

Seed storage: Seed was only stored for a few months after it was cleaned, in a paper envelope at 40§F, 35% relative humidity.

Seed dormancy: Black cherry has embryo dormancy (USDA, 1974) that can be overcome by stratification.
Length of Storage: <b>Storage Duration:</b> December to March.
Other Comments: We've only propagated this species once, but it was relatively easy. Seed collection was from the ground, fruits were readily cleaned, and once seeds germinated, plants grew rapidly.
References: Brown and Brown. 1992. Woody Plants of Maryland. Port City Press, Inc.

Gleason, H and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd edition. New York Bot. Garden.

Kujawski, J. 1997, 1998 Annual Report to the National Park Service for Oxon Run Parkway. USDA NRCS National Plant Materials Center. Beltsville, MD.

USDA, Forest Service. 1974. Seeds of Woody Plants in the United States. USDA, Ag. Handbook 450.


Davis, Kathy M.; Kujawski, Jennifer. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Plug + (container-field grown hybrids) Prunus serotina plants USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center Beltsville, Maryland. 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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