Trellis/Cultural Studies for Brambles

PROJECT LEADER(S): Gina Fernandez
TYPE OF PROJECT: Research
LOCATION: Kinston, NC

IMPACT


Production of cultivated blackberries in the southern U.S. is limited, but interest in this high-income specialty crop is growing, as more and more consumers demand a local supply of these highly desirable fresh fruits. In North Carolina alone, the number of acres in blackberry production doubled between 1996 and 2001 to 150 acres, and continues to grow. Net income can exceed $2,000 per acre from an established bramble planting and plantings can last ten years and longer. Adoption of this high-value crop may aid in the survival of small acreage family farms as production of traditional crops (e.g. tobacco) becomes untenable.


INTRODUCTION

The blackberry program in NC has grown significantly in the past 6 years. What started out as a simple variety trial has branched out into several related projects. These include yield verification studies, a marketing study, virus surveys, initiation of a certification program, establishment of a nursery program in the state, and the development of an enterprise budget. Despite our progress, simple pruning and trellising practices for blackberries have not been conducted and need to be systematically studied. For example, the shift trellis is thought to be more labor efficient, yet no replicated trials have been conducted. Studies for control of pests are also needed; growers may not be able to institute certain measures of control for economic issues or because some compounds are not yet registered for commercial use.

METHODS

Two replicated trials consisting of a shift trellis and a standard trellis were planted to the thornless blackberry cultivars Apache and Ouachita (not tested previously in NC). Superimposed on this study was a trial looking at the efficacy of a compound to control crown gall. Split plots consisted of treatment of newly set plants with a crown gall controlling compound (No-Gall) or no treatment. The planting was established in Kinston as a base for cultural, biological and chemical studies.

RESULTS

None. Fruit production will commence in 2005. Personnel in Kinston will be learning how to train the crop to the trellis in 2004. Plants will be examined for gall presence in the fall of 2004 and in the spring and fall of 2005 and beyond.

CONCLUSION

No conclusion at this time.

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Updated February, 2005