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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: Blackberry production options for cold areas

Authors
item Demchak, K -
item Elkner, T -
item Takeda, Fumiomi

Submitted to: Passages Newsletter (PASA)
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 19, 2010
Publication Date: March 1, 2010
Repository URL: http://www.pasafarming.org/resources/newsletter-archives
Citation: Demchak, K., Elkner, T., Takeda, F. 2010. Blackberry production options for cold areas. Passages Newsletter (PASA). 82 (Feb-Mar 2010). p. 14-15.

Technical Abstract: Blackberry is not widely planted in the Northeast, because most available varieties are not cold-hardy, and production can be variable from year to year with canes killed to the ground in some years. This report describes production options for more reliable cropping in blackberry. Planting varieties like 'Illini Hardy' and 'Chester Thornless' that can produce fruit from secondary buds when the primary bud is injured is one option for growers. Blackberries can be planted under greenhouses or high tunnels to insulate plants from low temperatures in the winter. A less expensive option is the rotating cross-arm (RCA) and rowcover treatment. Erect and trailing varieties can be trained on an RCA trellis so that canes can be positioned near the ground in the winter and then covered with a rowcover to protect plants from low temperatures. Another option is primocane-fruiting varieties which offer opportunities to produce fruit in the fall. Because canes on these plants are mowed to the ground in late winter or early spring, winter injury to the canes has no bearing on the following season’s productivity. In colder regions, primocane-fruiting varieties should be grown in high tunnels, because only a portion of the crop matures before the onset of fall frost. Although blackberry production in the Northeast is still limited, changes in production methods and better varieties should allow more consistent production and enable growers to meet the strong consumer demand for this crop.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014