Primocane Growth in 'Chester Thornless' Blackberry Trained to the Rotatable Cross-arm Trellis

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  • 1 Appalachian Fruit Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 45 Wiltshire Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430

A study was conducted to characterize vegetative growth of mature 'Chester Thornless' blackberry plants trained to the rotatable cross-arm (RCA) trellis in which up to six primocanes were retained. Cane emergence occurred from mid-April to late-May. The first (oldest) primocane attained a sufficient height to be trained in early May in 40% of plants, but younger primocanes could not be trained until late July. However, only 94%, 73%, 60%, and 42% of plants developed three, four, five, and six primocanes, respectively. In primocanes that were trained from 14 May to 3 June, eight or nine medium (0.7-1.3 m) to long (>1.3 m) lateral branches developed. Primocanes tied from 4 June to 16 July averaged less than six lateral branches that were mostly of medium and short (<0.7 m) categories. Primocanes trained after 16 July produced only two short lateral branches. The results indicated that training primocanes from mid-May to mid-June for 'Chester Thornless' blackberry on the RCA trellis would be advantageous to minimize labor costs.

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