(86) Seed Germination and Seedling Survival of Alnus maritima (Seaside Alder) in Three Soils in Northern Utah

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  • 1 Utah State University, Plants, Soils, and Biometeorology, Logan, UT, 84322-4820

Alnusmaritima may have potential for use in home and commercial landscapes in northern Utah. This fast-growing, fall-blooming shrub is cold-hardy to USDA hardiness zone 3b and tolerant of nutrient-poor soils and full sun. Because this taxon is native to low-elevation wetlands, I seek to determine its response to the high desert soils and climate of northern Utah. My specific objective was to test germination and survival of plants from seed sowed in three diverse soil types typical of the Wasatch front in north-central Utah. Seeds were rinsed with distilled water and cold-stratified in darkness for 16 weeks between wet filter paper in sealed petri dishes. Stratified seeds were sowed in flats filled with soil from each of three sites at the Utah Botanical Center in Kaysville and held in a greenhouse. Seeds planted in flats filled with soilless germination mix served as controls. Flats with 60 seeds were experimental units, and each medium was replicated three times. Soils ranged from silty loam to loam, nitrate-N was 3.2 to 5.4 mg·kg-1, and there was 1.4% to 2.9% organic matter. Germination rates were highest in the soilless mix (50%). Of the three soil types, the highest germination rates (24%) occurred in a loamy soil high in organic matter (2.9%). Rates were similar (12.5% and 13%) in the other two soils. Seeds of A. maritima can germinate in soils typical of urban landscapes in northern Utah, so both the potential for invasiveness and the performance of plants in the landscape of northern Utah are being evaluated.