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  • Author or Editor: Horacio E. Alvarado x
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Raspberry root growth during fruiting appears to be a strong sink for assimilates, and may decrease carbon availability for fruits and, consequently, cane yield. Both floricanes and primocanes may contribute to root carbon supply in raspberry during fruiting. To test this, `Tulameen' raspberry canes were grown outdoors in containers filled with perlite and peat (1:1). One-half of the plants were girdled and the rest were nongirdled. Within each girdling treatment, either 0 or 3 primocanes were allowed to grow. Treatments were applied at early bloom (10 May), and 50% fruit harvest occurred the first week in June. Fruit number and yield per plant decreased in girdled plants and plants without primocanes compared with nongirdled plants and plants with primocanes. Individual fruit fresh weight was not affected by treatments, but individual fruit dry weight and the dry weight to fresh weight ratio was higher in girdled plants without primocanes than in the other treatments. Neither girdling nor the presence of primocanes affected dry weight allocation to primocanes or floricanes. Root dry weight was higher in girdled plants with primocanes than in nongirdled plants without primocanes. It appears that primocanes supply carbon to roots during fruiting, and subsequently, roots mobilize carbon to floricanes. Thus, roots appear to serve primarily as a translocation pathway for carbon from primocanes to floricanes. However, when primocane growth is suppressed, root carbon is mobilized to support floricane development. If carbon flow from roots to floricanes is restricted, fruit number and yield is significantly decreased.

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Low yields have been observed in annual production systems in raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) compared with annual yields in perennial systems. This yield reduction could be related to a depletion of root carbohydrates and its consequent detrimental effect on fruit number or size. Additionally, primocanes could play an important role in the carbohydrate dynamics in an annual system and may also affect yield. Two experiments were carried out in 2003 and 2004 to determine the importance of root carbohydrates and primocanes in fruiting and yield components of ‘Tulameen’ red raspberry in an annual production system. In the 2003 experiment, girdled floricanes were compared with nongirdled controls. Girdling before bloom decreased fruits per cane and consequently yield per cane compared with controls, whereas girdling at the end of bloom had no effect. Root dry weight accumulation at the end of the fruiting season was significantly less in both early and late girdled compared with nongirdled plants. In 2004, floricanes were completely girdled or nongirdled at midflowering. Additionally, three primocanes were permitted to grow in one-half of the nongirdled and girdled plants, whereas primocanes were completely removed from the other half. Girdling and removal of all primocanes resulted in 100% plant mortality. In the presence of primocanes, floricane girdling had no effect on yield compared with the nongirdled treatments. There was a reduction in root dry weight in the nongirdled + primocane removal treatment compared with the treatments in which three primocanes were present. In the presence of primocanes, however, root dry weights were similar in both girdled and nongirdled plants. These results suggest that root carbohydrates are important in determining fruit number and yield in the annual system, and reductions in root carbohydrate during early flowering results in decreased yield. However, roots appear to quickly convert from source to sink status, and as the season progresses, both floricanes and primocanes act as sources to replenish root carbohydrate reserves. Carbohydrate dynamics appear to be similar between the annual production system and the traditional perennial system; however, because the annual system begins with limited carbohydrate reserves resulting from root pruning that occurs during removal from the nursery, yields are lower than those seen in perennial systems.

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Annual production systems for red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) have been proposed for off-season production or for increasing crop diversity in warm winter climates. However, yields in these annual systems are low compared with annual yields in perennial production systems. The yield reduction may be from the root pruning that occurs during removal and shipment of the canes from the nursery. This would result in significant root loss and may decrease the availability of root carbohydrates for reproductive development. To investigate this, ‘Cascade Delight’ red raspberry plants were root pruned during dormancy, and growth and fruiting of these plants were compared with non root-pruned controls the next season. Dry weights of all organs except floricane stems increased throughout the growing season; however, root pruning decreased root, floricane lateral, and total fruit dry weight compared with no root pruning. The yield decrease observed in root-pruned plants was because of a decrease in flower and fruit number per cane compared with the control. Total carbohydrate concentration in roots of root-pruned and non root-pruned plants decreased significantly between pruning and budbreak; however, root carbohydrate concentration and content were always lower in root-pruned compared with non root-pruned plants. The lower root carbohydrate availability in root-pruned compared with non root-pruned plants during budbreak apparently limited flower bud formation/differentiation, resulting in decreased yield. These results suggest that yields in annual red raspberry production systems are limited because of the loss of root carbohydrates during removal from the nursery. Management practices that increase yield per plant (e.g., by ameliorating root loss) or increase yields per hectare (e.g., by increasing planting density) are needed to render the annual production system economically viable.

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There is increasing interest in red raspberry (Rubus idaeus) production worldwide due to increased demand for both fresh and processed fruit. Although the United States is the third largest raspberry producer in the world, domestic demand exceeds supply, and the shortage in fresh market raspberries is filled by imported fruit from Canada during July and August, and from Mexico and Chile during November through May. The raspberry harvest season is well defined and the perishability of the fruit limits postharvest storage. Winter production of raspberry in tropical and subtropical climates could extend the harvest season and allow off-season fruit production during periods of high market prices. The objective of the current study was to examine growth and yield of red raspberry cultivars grown in an annual winter production system in Florida and Puerto Rico. Long cane cultivars were purchased from a nursery in the Pacific northwestern U.S. in 2002 (`Heritage' and `Tulameen'), 2003 (`Tulameen' and `Willamette'), and 2004 (`Tulameen' and `Cascade Delight') and planted in raised beds in polyethylene tunnels in December (Florida) or under an open-sided polyethylene structure in January-March (Puerto Rico). In Florida, harvest occurred from ∼mid-March through the end of May, while in Puerto Rico, harvest occurred from the end of March through early June (except in 2002, when canes were planted in March). Yields per cane varied with cultivar, but ranged from ∼80 to 600 g/cane for `Tulameen', 170 to 290 g/cane for `Heritage', 135 to 350 g/cane for `Willamette', and ∼470 g/cane for `Cascade Delight'. Economic analysis suggests that, at this point, returns on this system would be marginal. However, increasing cane number per unit area and increasing pollination efficiency may increase yields, while planting earlier would increase the return per unit. The key to success may hinge on developing a system where multi-year production is feasible in a warm winter climate.

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