Submitted to: American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 23, 2001
Publication Date: July 10, 2001
Citation: Takeda, F., Hummell, A.K. 2001. The relationship between pruning level and productivity in 'chester thornless' blueberry trained to a rotataale cross-arm trellis. American Society for Horticultural Science. Technical Abstract: The "rotatable cross-arm" (RCA) trellis was developed to ease mechanical harvesting of eastern thornless blackberries with fresh market quality. In this system, the primocanes are managed such that the rotation of the cross-arm following bloom positions all the fruit on the floricanes to one side of the trellis in a plane underneath the cross-arm. To maintain productivity, the number of lateral shoots that arise from primocanes must be maximized. In this study, the relationship between pruning level and productivity was determined in 'Chester Thornless' blackberry. Plants with two floricanes had fewer nodes and racemes, more fruit per raceme, larger fruit size, and with 82% of the productivity compared to plants with six primocanes. Retention of only two primocanes reduced labor costs for summer cultural work by 50%. Also, it permitted the task of primocane tying/training to be completed prior to labor-intensive fruit harvest. Blackberry management strategies that will mitigate labor costs or scarcity of labor will improve the economic viability of this crop.