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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Production Management Research For Horticultural Crops in the Gulf South

Location: Southern Horticultural Research

Title: Cutting type affects rooting percentage of asexually propagated Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum)

Authors
item Bowerman, Jessica -
item Spiers, James -
item Blythe, Eugene -
item Coneva, Elina -
item Tilt, Kenneth -
item Marshall, Donna

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Horticulture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 20, 2013
Publication Date: December 15, 2013
Citation: Bowerman, J.R., Spiers, J.D., Blythe, E.K., Coneva, E.D., Tilt, K.M., Marshall, D.A. 2013. Cutting type affects rooting percentage of asexually propagated Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum). Journal of Environmental Horticulture. 31(4):253-258.

Interpretive Summary: Commercial blueberries, particularly Vaccinium corymbosum, have very specific needs for optimum growth; hence, growing sites are limited. They require acidic soil (pH 4.0-5.5), good drainage, thorough aeration, and a constant moderate amount of moisture. To overcome these restrictions, they could be grafted onto a plant adapted to less desirable growing conditions. One potential rootstock is V. arboreum (sparkleberry), which has the ability to grow in many areas that could not be used for commercial blueberries. These studies evaluated the rooting percentage and growth characteristics of juvenile V. arboreum softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood cuttings subjected to 10-s basal quick-dip of 0, 1000, 2500, 5000, or 7500 ppm IBA. Rooting percentage was not affected by IBA concentration. The factors that influenced rooting were the source of the cutting and the cutting type (softwood, semi-hardwood, or hardwood). Greatest rooting percentages were observed when softwood cuttings were used. There was also success using semi-hardwood cuttings from plants that had been cut back and allowed to sprout new shoots. The results of this experiment can be used to determine the feasibility of using stem cuttings to commercially propagate selected varieties of V. arboreum. If a successful rooting method is developed, commercial Vaccinium species can be grown in more areas. This would greatly expand the blueberry production area of the Southeastern US.

Technical Abstract: Commercial blueberries, particularly Vaccinium corymbosum, have very specific needs for optimum growth; hence, growing sites are limited. They require acidic soil (pH 4.0-5.5), good drainage, thorough aeration, and a constant moderate amount of moisture. To overcome these restrictions, they could be grafted onto a plant adapted to less desirable growing conditions. One potential rootstock is V. arboreum (sparkleberry), which has the ability to grow in many areas that could not be used for commercial blueberries. In the past, propagation of V. arboreum has been difficult, but there has not been much research on the subject. Currently, V. arboreum plants are commercially propagated from seeds. Asexual propagation techniques will be necessary for rapid clonal propagation of selected varieties of V. arboreum. These studies evaluated the rooting percentage and growth characteristics of juvenile V. arboreum softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood cuttings subjected to 10-s basal quick-dip of 0, 1000, 2500, 5000, or 7500 ppm IBA. Rooting percentage was not affected by IBA concentration. The factors that influenced rooting were the source of the cutting and the cutting type (softwood, semi-hardwood, or hardwood). Greatest rooting percentages were observed when softwood cuttings were used. There was also success using semi-hardwood cuttings from plants that had been cut back and allowed to sprout new shoots. The results of this experiment can be used to determine the feasibility of using stem cuttings to commercially propagate selected varieties of V. arboreum.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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