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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - January 20, 2006

From: Edmonton, AB
Region: Canada
Topic: Propagation
Title: Information on propagating alder (Alnus crispa) from seed or cuttings in Alberta, Canada
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What do you know about propagating alder (Alnus crispa) from seed or cuttings? I'm involved in a small stream side revegetation project in central Alberta, Canada.

ANSWER:

The current accepted name for green alder, Alnus crispa, is Alnus viridis ssp. crispa. You can read more about it in the Native Plants Database.

Since we are not in the native range of Alnus viridis here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we don't have hands-on experience propagating it. We can, however, refer you to some good resources. There is an excellent description of the of propagation of green alder from seed on the SaskPower Shand Greenhouse web page. Also, Dr. Michael Dirr, in his book "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagaion and Uses" (1998, Ball Publishing) calls for 90 days cold stratification for Alnus crispa seeds. To accomplish this you can put the seeds into a plastic bag with vermiculite or sand that is slightly moistened and store in the refrigerator.

An article from the Pacific Northwest Cooperative Extension Service,"Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees, and Vines with Stem Cuttings", shows step-by-step instructions for propagating from stem cuttings and lists the alders, Genus Alnus, as a candidate for the procedure. However, an article from AllRefer.com says Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata stem cuttings seldom, if ever, produce roots.
 

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