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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1133: XI International Rubus and Ribes Symposium

Evaluation of blackberry cultivars in Virginia

Authors:   M.A. Conway, J.B. Samtani
Keywords:   Rubus spp., cultivar, yield, fruit size, °Brix, trellis
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1133.20
Abstract:
In Virginia, there is growing interest in blackberries (Rubus spp.) amongst strawberry and vegetable growers looking to diversify their farms. The addition of blackberries allows strawberry growers to keep their farm stands and you-pick activities open for a longer duration over the growing season, while retaining customer interest and agri-tourism. This translates to increased produce sales. Blackberries are a 'stand-up' crop and easier to harvest than strawberries, especially thornless cultivars. The option of having thornless cultivars allows easy access to fruit and less liability issues for growers and customers. Virginia growers, new and old, lack information on blackberry cultivars that perform well in this area, and educators lack data from Virginia to substantiate blackberry production recommendations. Keeping these factors in mind, an on-farm observational study of cultivar evaluations was done at four grower sites in Virginia during the 2014 yielding season. The objective of this observational study was to evaluate yield, fruit size, and °Brix, for the growing season for established blackberry cultivars at grower locations in Virginia. The goal was to identify cultivars that perform well in Virginia climatic conditions and to assist the grower in making cultivar choices. These observational data identified 'Chester' as high yielding and thorny cultivars 'Kiowa' and 'Chickasaw' as the large size, fruit bearing cultivars.

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