Wednesday, March 27, 2013

RCA trellis with covers

RCA trellis with rowcover, Piedmont Research Station, Salisbury, NC. Photo: K. Snider. 
Blackberry canes with emerged buds, under rowcovers. Photo: K. Snider. 
At the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, NC, we have a set of four RCA trellises oriented  North/South and East/West. The primary objective of this project is to evaluate attributes of fresh blackberry fruit. We are most interested in the level of sun scald based injury to fruit based on canopy orientation.

However, the RCA trellis is used in colder regions of the country as a way to grow varieties that are not cold hardy. In North Carolina, twice in the past decade, we have experienced low temperatures (8 April 2007 and 12 April 2012)  that have resulted in significant crop loss. Developing flower buds and therefore the blackberry crop were killed by late season frost/freeze events. So, we are looking at this trellis system as an option for protection from cold in NC.

Temperatures at the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, NC, for the have been cold, 20F on 21 March. We had emerged buds so we protected blackberry plants under rowcovers. Although the buds would likely have survived, we wanted to protect them, just in case. We have data loggers recording temperatures under the covers and will download them next time we get to the field and update this post to include those temperatures.

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