FIELD RESPONSE OF MICROPROPAGATED CRANBERRY

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

A project to determine the comparative growth response of micropropagated (MP) and field propagated (FP) cranberry plants was conducted in field plots at a commercial cranberry marsh. Microcuttings were derived from shoot culture and rooted in either plugs or peat pots filled with peat. Replicated 1 m2 plots of MP plants and 15 cm FP cuttings were planted in June. Survival of MP plants after one month was significantly greater than that of the FP plants. Significant growth differences were observed later in the season. The MP plants produced more branches and greater runner elongation, resulting in a much greater ground cover. Many of the FP plants flowered and produced fruit, while the MP plants produced neither. Far fewer new flower buds were set in the fall on the MP plants. Potential advantages of MP cranberries include the fast, uniform establishment of new marshes and consequently earlier achievement of full productivity, and the rapid introduction of new genotypes from breeding or genetic engineering.

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