Winter Pruning Affects Yield Components of 'Black Satin' Eastern Thornless Blackberry

in HortScience

Nine-year-old 'Black Satin' blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus) plants were dormant pruned to three floricanes with three, six, nine, or twelve 12-node lateral branches (≈108, 216, 324, or 432 axillary buds per plant) to determine the effect of lateral branch number on budbreak, fruit cluster number, fruit number per cluster, fruit weight, total soluble solids (TSS), and yield. Percent budbreak of primary and secondary axillary buds was reduced as the lateral branch number increased. Pruning did not affect fruit weight (6.4 g) or TSS (9.5%). Yield per lateral branch was reduced as lateral branch number increased. A plant with three floricanes, each with 12 lateral branches, produced 21 kg of fruit. The results indicate that pruning lateral branches to a manageable length may be advantageous for eastern thornless blackberry trained on a divided canopy trellis.

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