The Effect of Nitrogen Fertilizer Rates and Timing on Cranberry Yield and Fruit Quality

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., One Ocean Spray Drive, Lakeville-Middleboro, MA 02349

To examine the impact of N fertilizer rates and timing on cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) yield and the fruit quality factors total anthocyanin, average berry weight, and field and storage rot, plots were established for 3 to 4 years. The cranberries received a total of 0, 22, or 44 kg N/ha over the growing season applied in three, four, or five applications, which varied by growth stage. There were eleven possible treatment combinations in Massachusetts on `Early Black' and `Howes' and in Wisconsin on `Stevens' and `Searles', and seven possible treatments in New Jersey on `Early Black' and in Washington on `McFarlin'. The results showed a nationwide response to N that suggests the experimental middle rate of 22 kg·ha-1 would result in high yields with moderate rot. However, the best timing for applying the fertilizer varied by both state and cultivar, where three late season applications were best on `Early Black' in New Jersey versus four early season applications on the same cultivar in Massachusetts, and applying N fertilizers across five applications was optimal for `Stevens' in Wisconsin.

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