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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Alternative Bramble Cane Training Techniques and Trellis Designs to Facilitate Harvesting and for Winter Protection

Author
item TAKEDA, FUMIOMI

Submitted to: New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 10, 2001
Publication Date: October 10, 2001
Citation: Takeda, F. 2001. Alternative bramble cane training techniques and trellis designs to facilitate harvesting and for winter protection. New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: There is an increased interest in growing blackberries in New England. However, for cultivated blackberries to thrive in New England, growers in the region need varieties with greater winter hardiness levels or a simple, low-cost technique to modify the micro-environment for protection of canes from low winter temperatures. Protected cultivation under permanent glass structures appears to be unprofitable. This paper illustrates strategies on crop improvement to adapt blackberries to the environmental limitations and physically modifying the crop environment to reduce weather stress. Specifically, the potential use of a trellis and cane training system developed by ARS scientists to meet the needs for machine harvesting blackberries is described. The rotatable cross-arm trellis design and a unique cane training technique positions the fruit for increased harvest efficiency. With slight modifications to the trellis design, such as lowering the pivot point and creating fuller rotation of the cross arms, i can also position the canes closer to the ground with little labor input and without compromising the fruiting capacity. Having the canes closer to the ground during winter will allow growers to deposit synthetic and organic winter mulch material on top and side of the canes to moderate low winter temperatures. Natural snow cover is expected to provide additional insulation to moderate the extreme low temperatures. Such a system can assist growers in New England to improve the sustainability of blackberry production in that region.

Technical Abstract: There is an increased interest in growing blackberries in New England states. However, for cultivated blackberries to thrive in New England, growers need cultivars with greater winter hardiness levels or a simple, low-cost technique to modify the micro-environment for protection of canes from low winter temperatures. Protected cultivation of blackberries under permanent glass structures appears to be unprofitable. This paper illustrates strategies concerned with (1) the potential use of a trellis and cane training system that positions the fruit for increased harvest efficiency, (2) protecting canes from low temperatures by positioning them closer to the ground and depositing winter mulch on the top and side of the cane, and (3) accomplishing the above goals with little labor input.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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