Submitted to: American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2011
Publication Date: September 10, 2011
Citation: Makus, D.J., Zibilske, L.M. 2011. Water use efficiency (WUE) in blackberries is improved by the use of weed barriers and seasonal shading [abstract]. American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting. 125-126.
Water use efficiency (WUE) was determined for two separate blackberry cultural management studies conducted during the years 2006-2008 (Expt. 1) and 2008-2010 (Expt. 2) in a semi-arid subtropical area in south Texas (Lat. 26° N). Adjustments were made for natural precipitation and total season water requirements. In Expt. 1, use of weed barriers, compared to bare soil, increased WUE with an opaque white plastic giving the best results in both harvest years. As some of the less expensive weed barriers deteriorated, WUE diminished in the second fruiting year. In Expt. 2, factorial comparisons were made between white plastic (for weed control), bare ground (conventional practice and kept weed free), shade (40% beginning after the third harvest), and no shade. The improvement to WUE increased as follows: bare ground and no shading < white plastic = bare ground + shading < white plastic + shading. Environmental factors which may have influenced WUE between treatments included soil temperature at 10 cm (Expt. 1), fruit and canopy temperatures (Expt. 2), and seasonal differences in rainfall, light (MJ/m2) and monthly mean temperatures (in all years).