Submitted to: Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA)
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 2, 2010
Publication Date: July 15, 2010
Citation: Takeda, F. 2010. Horizontal cane orientation and rowcover application improve winter survival and yield of trailing 'Siskiyou' blackberry. Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA) Today (summer issue), p 16-18. Technical Abstract: Western trailing blackberries (Genus Rubus subgenus Rubus Watson) are susceptible to low temperature injury and are not generally grown commercially in the central or eastern United States. Seven-year-old trailing ‘Siskiyou’ blackberry plants were trained to the rotating cross-arm (RCA) trellis system. In winter, the cross-arms were held vertically or rotated down to horizontal, and either covered with a non-woven row cover or left uncovered. Cane injury was least in plants with lateral canes oriented horizontally but not covered. Cane injury was high in plants with lateral canes oriented vertically in winter, whether covered or not, and among plants with lateral canes laid close to the ground but not covered. Among ‘Siskiyou’ blackberry plants that had lateral canes oriented horizontally, 280 flower clusters and 6.0 kg plant fruit were produced on those that were covered with a rowcover in the winter, compared to only 72 flower clusters and 1.7 kg plant fruit for plants that were not covered in winter. Fewer flower clusters developed and yield was approximately less than 2 kg plant on plants with lateral canes oriented vertically. Rowcover treatment had no effect on cane injury or yield when lateral canes were oriented vertically. The findings suggested that ‘Siskiyou’ blackberry can be grown in the eastern United States, where winter injury has frequently caused a crop failure, by positioning the lateral canes close to the ground and covering plants with a rowcover.