Propagation of Alnus maritima from Softwood Cuttings

in HortScience

Alnus maritima (Marsh.) Nutt. (seaside alder) is a rare, woody-plant species with potential for use in managed landscapes. Information on the propagation and production of this species is not available. Our objective was to evaluate the use of softwood cuttings to propagate A. maritima, with emphasis on how indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), plant provenance, and time of collection affect cutting survival, rooting percentage, the number of roots produced, and their length. Propagation trials were conducted with cuttings from seven trees on the Delmarva Peninsula (Eastern Shore of Maryland and southern Delaware) and seven trees in Oklahoma. Cuttings from mature plants in both provenances were collected on 14 June and 23 Aug. 1998; wounded; treated with IBA at 0, 1, or 8 g·kg-1; and placed under intermittent mist in a greenhouse for 9 weeks. Use of IBA at 8 g·kg-1 caused a greater rooting percentage (68%), root count (7.2), and root length (39.2 mm) than did the other IBA rates when applied to cuttings from Oklahoma in June, but IBA had little effect on cuttings from the Delmarva Peninsula. Across IBA treatments, rooting of cuttings from Oklahoma (55% in June and 12% in August) was greater than the rooting of cuttings from Delmarva (27% in June and 3% in August). Cuttings from Oklahoma had greater survival, callus development, root length, and root count than did cuttings from the Delmarva Peninsula during June and August trials. Averaged over IBA treatments and provenances, cuttings collected on 14 June rooted more frequently (41%) than did cuttings collected 23 Aug. (8%). We conclude that softwood cuttings from mature plants are an effective way to multiply clones of A. maritima, particularly when cuttings are collected early in the season and treated with IBA at 8 g·kg-1.

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