Rowcovers Accelerate Fruiting and Increase Productivity in Primocane-fruiting Red Raspberries

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Department of Fruit and Vegetable Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 2 Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 3 Rutgers Fruit Research and Development Center, Cream Ridge, NJ 08514.
  • | 4 Department of Fruit and Vegetable Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Studies were conducted over eight location-years to evaluate the effects of rowcover material, time of application, and time of removal on `Heritage' red raspberry cane growth, flowering, and fruiting. We anticipated that rowcovers would accelerate fruit maturity so that more of the crop could be harvested before the onset of cold temperatures in autumn. In seven of the eight experiments, rowcovers either increased yields or accelerated harvest. With a March application, harvest began 3 weeks earlier, and August yields of covered plants were 42 times higher than those of noncovered plants. Responses were observed with spunbonded polypropylene and polyester covers, but not with polyethylene covers. Rowcovers placed over the row before primocane emergence and removed when canes were ≈50 cm tall resulted in the greatest plant response. The use of polyester or polypropylene rowcovers with primocane-fruiting raspberries appears to be economically feasible in most years in northern climates.

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