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Julie Bussières, Stéphanie Boudreau, Guillaume Clément–Mathieu, Blanche Dansereau and Line Rochefort

This project was established to evaluate the feasibility of black chokeberry [Aronia melanocarpa (Michx.) Ell.] culture on Canadian cut-over peatlands and to define its appropriate production practices. We tested the effects of different fertilizer rates, application methods, and mulches on the vegetative development and berry production of seedlings over a 6-year period (2000 to 2006). Fertilization was essential for survival of the plants. A low fertilizer rate (131 g/plant of 1.7N–4.1P–12K) ensured adequate vegetative development for good establishment. Applying such a rate for 2 consecutive years proved to be more beneficial than a single dose of fertilizer for increasing plant height, crown width, and height growth. However, fruit yield was best when fertilized with the highest dose tested (550 g/plant of 3.4N–8.3P–24.2K). Black plastic mulch had a positive effect on height, width, and growth of the plants. More weeds were observed when the fertilizer was applied to the surface as compared with soil incorporation. However, this study revealed that black chokeberry is tolerant of weeds. Based on these results, black chokeberry is a promising plant for the management of cut-over peatlands for both vegetative growth and fruit production.