DOI: 10.3390/horticulturae9121285 ISSN: 2311-7524

Temperature and Daylength Effects on Growth and Floral Initiation in Biennial-Fruiting Blackberry

Anita Sønsteby, Ola M. Heide
  • Horticulture
  • Plant Science

Little is known about the environmental control of growth and flower bud initiation (FBI) in commercial blackberries. We studied the processes in the cultivars ‘Lock Ness’, ’Ouachita’ and ‘Sweet Royalla’ at 12, 16 and 20 °C in a daylight phytotron under naturally decreasing autumn daylength at Ås, Norway (59°40′ N). Growth rate increased with increasing temperature but was much lower at all temperatures in the erect ‘Ouachita’ than in the trailing cultivars ‘Lock Ness’ and ‘Sweet Royalla’. In all cultivars, FBI occurred earliest at 16 °C, whereas little or no FBI took place in ‘Ouachita’ and ‘Lock Ness’ at 12 °C. Growth cessation was earliest at 16 °C where it occurred in early September in all cultivars, suggesting a critical daylength of approximately 14 h. At variance from earlier statements, FBI started in lateral buds situated several nodes below the apex and progressed in both acropetal and basipetal directions as previously reported for red raspberry. Winter chill at 0 °C enhanced flowering in spring in marginally induced plants of all cultivars except ‘Ouachita’ grown at 12 °C, which remained vegetative in spring. The results suggest that temperature is as important as daylength for FBI in biennial-fruiting blackberry, and that winter chilling may enhance flowering and yield potential in partially induced plants.

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