Salal

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by Gordo, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member

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    I am looking to increase my stock of salal (Gaultheria shallon) to use as ground cover in an approximately ten by fifty foot area. I need information about the best method and timing for propagating new plants from those growing on my property - or would I be better advised to purchase new plants? Do conservation district sales include this plant?
     
  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Gordo--the pro's all raise these from seed. Can you get some berries from your plants at this time of year...can't remember if they've disappeared by now or still hanging on...

    I would crush and wash the pulp off a pile of berries to get lots of seed, then spread these on a peaty sowing mix...either on a flat or in a plug tray. Just leave them in a protected spot to get some cold over the next few months, they should germinate fine when it warms up in spring.

    Cuttings could also work, kinda like rhodos, but don't make near as much sense for a native species. Seeds are way less bother, and will make nice vigorous plants once they get a bit of size.

    Glen
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    If you have a carpet of comparatively short, stubby ones in a sunny area on the edge of a clearing you can try lifting these as sods in late winter. Tall, shaded ones would be clumsy to handle and will burn if moved into much brighter exposure.
     
  4. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member

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    Thanks, Glen - Berries appear to be long gone, but I'll give this a try next year. I'm wondering, though, how long it might take to produce plants of a size suitable for planting out.
     
  5. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member

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    Ron, how much root do you think I'll need for individual plants using this method?
     
  6. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    My own experience with moving pieces of salal vs. planting container grown stock- move big pieces, cutting back some of the top when moving, or plant largest affordable containers, then be very, very patient. Extra attention to water and slug protection the first few years also helps. Amazing that a native plant that is widespread locally so resents being transplanted to another similar local site.....
     
  7. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Gordo--you will only have a 4in.(pot) sized plant by next winter from this spring's germination, so it is a slow process. You are trading your time for $, since that 4in. salal costs you almost nothing (except your time)...compared to a few bucks each to buy them ready-grown.

    I have also dug wild salal, and found the root systems very wide ranging...total opposite to say an azalea that makes a nice compact fibrous root and therefore is easy to move. I would look for wild seedlings, and hopefully get some of them moved before growth starts very much in spring... small dug transplants might wind up ahead of bigger plants that lose most of their roots in the digging process.

    Like Ron, I would look in a sunny area, like a disturbed spot, where they are colonizing new ground...you see rather few baby salals (or most other understory natives) in undisturbed (and shady) forest where everything is pretty much in equilibrium. A sunny edge/clearing can be good, as are many roadsides if collecting is allowed there.
     
  8. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Mine always seemed to do best when growing on downed, dead, well rotted Doug fir trees. Was this a true or not true observation? b
     
  9. GreenElephant

    GreenElephant Active Member

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    I grew from seed. Harvested the berries in late summer and sowed them on surface. Let it sit all winter, and got low germination. Tiny tiny seedlings grew slowly and a year later I tossed them out because it was going to take too long.
     
  10. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Sounds about right. Both Madrona trees and salal seem to grow where they choose and not us. Give them a nice fertile soil and they die. The seem to prefer cracks in rocks or that special place you set aside for something totally different. Contrary Plants! :)) barb
     

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