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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NOVEL PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR SMALL FRUITS

Location: Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement and Protection

Title: Reducing winter injury in blackberries

Author
item Takeda, Fumiomi

Submitted to: Mountaineer Grower
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2009
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Citation: Takeda, F. 2009. Reducing winter injury in blackberries. The Mountaineer Grower. No. 595 (4 pages) (this does not have page numbers) . Mountaineer Grower.

Interpretive Summary: Trailing blackberries are not tolerant of low winter temperatures and are not grown in the eastern United States. We evaluated the combination of primocane training and cane positioning techniques using a rotatable cross-arm (RCA) trellis system and covering plants in winter to protect buds and canes from freezing temperatures in ‘Siskiyou’ trailing blackberry. Winter damage to buds and canes of ‘Siskiyou’ plants under floating row cover and polyethylene plastic sheet was significantly less than for ‘Siskiyou’ plants that were not covered. These findings suggest that our technique for mitigating the adverse effects of low temperatures proved beneficial for ‘Siskiyou’ trailing blackberries. With addition of cultivars such as ‘Siskiyou’, there is a potential for early-season high-quality blackberry production in the mid-Atlantic coast region.

Technical Abstract: We evaluated the combination of primocane training and cane positioning techniques using a rotatable cross-arm (RCA) trellis system and covering plants in winter to protect buds and canes from freezing temperatures in ‘Apache’, ‘Boysenberry’, ‘Siskiyou’, and ‘Triple Crown’ blackberry. After tying primocanes to trellis wires and rotating the cross-arms to below horizontal, canes were positioned close to the ground which allowed them to be covered with spun bonded floating row cover (FRC) and clear polyethylene (PE) plastic sheet from December to March. The canes remained in the horizontal orientation until bloom which resulted in the flowering laterals to grow upright. After bloom, the cross-arm was rotated to slightly beyond vertical. The daily minimum temperatures under the FRC + PE covers and two layers of FRC were 3 to 7 degrees C higher than in the open. The damage to buds and canes of ‘Siskiyou’ plants under FRC+PE or two layers of FRC was significantly less than for ‘Siskiyou’ plants that were not covered. Winter-protected ‘Siskiyou’ plants produced 3 to 5 times more fruit than plants in the open. Harvesting of ‘Siskiyou’ fruit occurred during the red raspberry harvest season. ‘Boysenberry’ blackberry lacked vegetative growth and produced little whether canes were covered or remained in the open. These findings suggest that our technique for mitigating the adverse effects of low temperatures proved beneficial for ‘Siskiyou’ trailing blackberries. With addition of cultivars such as ‘Siskiyou’, there is a potential for early-season high-quality blackberry production in the mid-Atlantic coast region.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014