919 PB 197 YIELD ANALYSIS IN EASTERN THORNLESS BLACKBERRY

in HortScience

Easter thornless blackberries (ETB) are highly productive and commercially grow” in several areas of the country. Fruit are acceptable for the fresh market and the processor. Mature plants of ETB cultivars develop 3 or 4 primocanes annually. On these primocanes as many as 15 lateral shoots may develop from axillary buds. In 1992, the effects of lateral shoot numbers on axillary bud break, fruit cluster numbers, berry size, and yield were determined. `Black Satin' (9-yr-old) vines were dormant pruned to three floricanes with 3, 6, 9, or 12 l2-node lateral shoots (108. 216, 324, or 432 axillary buds per plant). In all plants, about 77% of primary axillary buds broke and grew into fruiting laterals. However, percentage bud break of secondary axillary buds was reduced as the lateral shoots per floricane increased. Pruning severity affected neither berry size (6.4 gm) or SSC (9.5%). Yield per lateral shoot was reduced as lateral shoot number increased. For higher fruit production in ETB, the number of primocanes as well as the lateral shoot numbers per plant must increase.

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