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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1014: Proceedings of the International Plant Propagators Society - 2012

PROPAGATION OF SPARKLEBERRY (VACCINIUM ARBORETUM) IMPROVED VIA CUTTING TYPE©

Authors:   J.R. Bowerman, J.D. Spiers, E. Coneva, K.M. Tilt, E.K. Blythe , D.A. Marshall
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.1014.87
Abstract:
Partly due to difficulty propagating, Vaccinium arboretum is seldom marketed as a landscape plant. However, V. arboretum, also known as sparkleberry or farkleberry, can grow to be an aesthetically pleasing semi-evergreen small tree, with attractive fall color, exfoliating bark, and edible fruit. Vaccinium arboretum is very drought tolerant and can grow in a range of soil types; therefore, it is a good selection as an attractive woodland shrub/small tree for xeriscaping and native plant landscaping. Though seed germination is more difficult compared to other commercial blueberry species (Lyrene and Brooks, 1995), V. arboretum plants are commercially propagated from seeds. Asexual propagation techniques will be necessary for clonal propagation of selected cultivars of V. arboretum.
To date, there has not been much research on the propagation of V. arboretum. Stockton (1976) tried to propagate V. arboretum using softwood stem cuttings and K-IBA quick-dips (0, 10,000, 15,000, and 20,000 ppm). After 60 days, cuttings were checked for rooting and minimal to no success was observed in all of the treatments (Stockton, 1976). Reese (1992) used semi-hardwood stem cuttings, various levels of IBA+NAA, willow water, and Hormodin® 3 to determine rooting percentage of V. arboretum. Similar to the previous study, little rooting was observed, with only a 0-12.5% rooting percentage recorded among the treatments. The control treatment had 0% rooting and all of the treatments were statistically similar, suggesting that none of the treatments influenced rooting success (Reese, 1992). Hence, previous research suggests V. arboretum is a very hard-to-root species, with no indication of viable treatments to enhance rooting of stem cuttings.
The objectives of this study were to determine whether cutting type (softwood, semi-hardwood, or hardwood), cutting position (terminal or subterminal), IBA concentration, or the interaction of these treatments influence rooting of V. arboretum stem cuttings. Previous experiments did not specify if the cuttings were taken from juvenile or mature wood. Only juvenile wood was used in this study, as juvenile wood is typically easier to root than mature wood for most species (Hartmann et al., 2011).

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