INCREASING SUSTAINABILITY OF MASSACHUSETTS CRANBERRY PRODUCTION THROUGH CULTURAL MANAGEMENT OF THE VINE CANOPY
To identify cost-effective and sustainable options for canopy and water management without sacrificing yield, we hypothesized that 1) mechanical pruning could replace sanding, and 2) simple changes in irrigation and drainage practices could improve water management. We conducted farm- and plot-scale studies, workshops, and surveys that focused on four practices: 1) pruning (as an alternative to sanding), 2) irrigation scheduling using sensors, 3) installation of drainage tiles, and 4) cycling sprinklers during frost protection. Farm-scale studies, where pruning replaced sanding at 2-, 3- or 4+-year intervals, demonstrated that pruned areas had at least equal if not greater cumulative yield for the 2-3 year period after pruning than unpruned (sanded only) areas. Upright density was not adversely affected, irrespective of the number of years between sanding and pruning. A replicated trial showed that cranberry fruitworm (Acrobasis vaccinii) hibernacula must be buried by at least 4.5 cm sand (a depth associated with substantial yield loss) to reduce moth emergence, indicating that replacement pruning would not adversely impact successful fruitworm management. End-of-project surveys indicated that 33% of growers would prune in lieu of sanding and 16% were using cycling for frost protection, up from 15 and 0%, respectively.
Sandler, H.A., DeMoranville, C.J., Caruso , F.L., Sylvia, M.M., Averill, A.L. and Vanden Heuvel, J. (2014). INCREASING SUSTAINABILITY OF MASSACHUSETTS CRANBERRY PRODUCTION THROUGH CULTURAL MANAGEMENT OF THE VINE CANOPY. Acta Hortic. 1017, 479-485
canopy management, cranberry fruitworm, drainage, irrigation cycling, pruning, sanding, Vaccinium macrocarpon, water management