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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Determining Impact of Soil Environment and Root Function on Horticultural Crop Productivity and Quality

Location: Horticultural Crops Research

Title: Water, weed, and nutrient management practices in organic blackberries

item Harkins, Renee
item Strik, Bernadine
item Bryla, David
item Buller, Gill

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/14/2012
Publication Date: 6/18/2013
Citation: Harkins, R., Strik, B., Bryla, D.R., Buller, G. 2013. Water, weed, and nutrient management practices in organic blackberries. Meeting Abstract. Meeting booklet.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The purpose of our study is to investigate the effects of organic management on plant and soil water and nutrient relations, plant growth, yield, and fruit quality in an organic trailing blackberry production system. Treatments include: cultivar ('Marion' and 'Black Diamond'); irrigation (post-harvest and no post-harvest irrigation); weed management (landscape fabric or weed mat; hand-hoed; and non-weeded); and primocane training date (August and February). The 0.4 ha planting was established in May, 2010 in Aurora, Ore., USA. Plants were not cropped in 2011. Irrigation was scheduled based on weekly readings of leaf water potential and soil water content. In 2011, plants with weed mat required up to 30% more irrigation water to maintain the same water potential as those in hand-weeded and non-weeded plots, particularly in ‘Marion’, which often had lower leaf water potentials than 'Black Diamond'. To date, there has been no significant effect of weed management practices on plant nutrient status, although 'Marion' tended to have a lower leaf N concentration in non-weeded plots. Soil pH was higher in non-weeded plots than under weed mat in 2010 but not in 2011. Overall, findings to date suggest that weed management may directly affect soil and plant nutrient status. Next year, we will begin to ascertain the effects of weed management as well as post-harvest irrigation and primocane training date on plant growth, yield, and berry nutrients.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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