Cold Tolerance of Cranberry Flower Buds Differs by Cultivar and Developmental Stage

in HortScience
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  • 1 Univ. of Massachusetts Cranberry Experiment Station, Glen Charlie Road, East Wareham, MA 02538

Cold tolerance of cranberry flower buds from four cultivars was evaluated using potted sods collected from commercial cranberry beds. The plants were evaluated weekly beginning at the spring dormant stage and continuing until the buds had elongated to at least 2 cm. The potted plants were place in controlled temperature chambers at 5°C and the temperature was lowered 3°C/hr until the target temperature was reached. The plants were held at that temperature for 3 hr then slowly warmed. After 24 hr, damage was evaluated by microscopic examination of cross-sectioned buds. In the early spring, prior to leaf greening, all four cultivars were tolerant of –8°C. In the later part of the spring, cultivars with the smallest buds had greater cold tolerance than those with larger buds. Even when all cultivars appeared to be at the same developmental stage, e.g., bud swell, `Ben Lear' and `Stevens', were more sensitive than `Early Black' and `Howes'. At the 2-cm elongation stage, minimum cold tolerance of –1°C was reached for all four cultivars. New recommendations for protecting cranberry flower buds in the spring have been formulated based on this study.

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