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Spiraea (betulifolia)

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

Family Scientific Name: Rosaceae
Family Common Name: Rose family
Scientific Name: Spiraea betulifolia Pallas
Common Name: Birchleaf Spiraea
Species Code: SPIBET
Ecotype: West Glacier, 1100m elev. Glacier National Park, Flathead Co., MT.
General Distribution: S. betulifolia occurs from B.C. to northeastern Oregon, east to Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming, east across Canada to Saskatchewan; also in Asia.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 160 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 8 Months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling<br> Height: 15 cm<br> Caliper: 5 mm<br> Root System: firm plug in containers.
Propagule Collection: Seeds are hand collected when follicles begin to split open in mid to late September. Follicles are collected in paper bags and kept in a well ventilated drying shed prior to cleaning. Seeds are light tan at maturity.
Propagule Processing: Seeds are extracted by crushing follicles. Material is screened to remove chaff. Seedsare thin, elongated and very small.
Seed longevity is unknown.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
% Purity: 50%
% Germination: approximately 50 to 80%
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seeds are placed in a 60 day cold, moist stratification. The tiny seeds are moistened and placed on moist, rolled paper towels inserted into a opened zip-lock bag, and held under refrigation at 3 C. Seeds are remoistened as needed during stratification.
Satisfactory germination also occurs without a stratification treatment.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Greenhouse and outdoor nursery growing facility.
Sowing Method: Direct Seeding. Seeds must be surface sown for the light requirement.
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 conetainer.

Greenhouse temperatures are maintained at 21 to 25C during the day and 16 to 18C at night. Seedlings are hand watered and 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.
Establishment Phase: Germination continues over a 3 week period. Conetainers are misted twice daily after sowing and until seedlings have emerged.
Seedlings have true leaves 2 to 3 weeks after germination and are thinned to 1 per cell at this stage.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Plants grow rapidly following establishment, and are regularly fertilized with 20-10-20 liquid NPK at 100 ppm. Plants are root tight in containers in 4 months. Seedlings also reached flowering maturity 4 months after germination.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 16 weeks
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 pppm in August and September. Pots are leached with clear water in October.
Length of Hardening Phase: 8 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: 8 months from seed
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: S. betulifolia is suseptible to fire blight if high nitrogen fertilizers are used during production.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1990.
Seeds of the Woody Plants in North America, Young and Young, Dioscorides Press, 1992.
Seeds of the Woody Plants in the United States, Agriculture Handbook No. 450, U.S.F.S., Washington D.C., 1974.
Glacier Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation, Dirr and Heuser, Varsity Press, 1987.
1996 Revegetation Monitoring Report, Glacier National Park, Asebrook, J., Lamb, B., and Funk, T., unpublished.
1998 Revegetation Monitoring Report, Glacier National Park, Asebrook, J.,and Kimball, S., unpublished.


Luna, Tara; Corey, Susan; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale; Hosokawa, Joy. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Spiraea betulifolia Pallas plants 160 ml conetainers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. 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.

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