Chilling Enhances Cane Elongation and Flowering in Primocane-fruiting Blackberries

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701
  • | 2 Department of Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Root cuttings of A-1836, APF-13, and NC194 primocane-fruiting (PF) blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus) genotypes were dug from the field on 31 July 1997 and stored in plastic bags at 2 °C for 32 days. On 1 Sept. freshly dug root cuttings, along with the cold-treated ones, were planted in pots, which were kept in a lath house for 4 weeks and then moved to a heated greenhouse under natural daylength. Cold-treatment hastened emergence of all genotypes. Transition from vegetative to floral phase was first observed in cold-treated A-1836 and APF-13 at the fifth node, with floral appendages clearly evident in both genotypes at the seventh node 45 days after planting (DAP). Bloom started on 26 Nov. and 5 Dec. 1997 and the first fruits were picked on 10 and 25 Jan. 1998 in cold-treated APF-13 and A-1836, respectively. Plants of cold-treated NC194 and of all non-cold-treated genotypes remained stunted with rosetted leaves, showing no signs of floral initiation until 150 DAP. These findings show that exposure to chilling prior to shoot emergence greatly promotes flowering in PF blackberries, and may have application in greenhouse culture of blackberry.

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Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.to whom reprint requests should be addressed.
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