325 Evaluation of `Meeker' Red Raspberry Freeze Tolerance using Whole-plant Growth and Root Electrolyte Leakage Viability Tests

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  • 1 Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Puyallup, WA 98371-4998

In Spring 1996, `Meeker' red raspberry root cuttings were planted into a sandy loam soil in 30 cm tall x 27 cm diameter black plastic containers. During Mar. 1997, a second bottomless container was placed over the overwintering canes of half of the plants. The second container was filled with the same sandy loam soil to simulate ridging of the plants. All plants were grown using standard cultural practices on an outdoor, gravel nursery bed. Freeze tolerance of potted whole plants and excised root sections was measured at 5 °C intervals between -5 and -20 °C in a series of laboratory freeze tests conducted during Jan. 1998. Electrolyte leakage data were used to calculate the index of injury for excised roots while whole-plant response to freezing was determined by measuring the subsequent growth of floricane lateral shoots and of primocanes. After 1 month in the greenhouse, results indicated the dry weight of primocanes harvested from plants that were exposed to -20 °C was 56% of the nonfrozen control primocane dry weight. Primocane dry weight from plants exposed to -5, -10 and -15 °C was not different from the controls. Similar results were obtained for the percent of floricanes that were alive and for the dry weight of laterals produced by these floricanes after 3 months in the greenhouse. The whole-plant freeze test results indicated plants at the lowest temperature, -20 °C, were injured but not killed. Root index of injury of single potted plants averaged 5%, 15%, 29%, and 58% at -5, -10, -15, and -20 °C, respectively.

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