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In-row Vegetation-free Strip Width Effect on Established ‘Navaho’ Blackberry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2017

Nicholas T. Basinger*
Graduate Student, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
Katherine M. Jennings
Assistant Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
David W. Monks
Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
Wayne E. Mitchem
Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium Coordinator and Tree Fruit and Vine Crops Weed Management, North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service, Mills River, NC, USA
Penelope M. Perkins-Veazie
Professor, Plants for Human Health Institute, NC Research Campus, North Carolina State University, Kannapolis, NC, USA
Sushila Chaudhari
Postdoctoral Student, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
Author for correspondence: Nicholas T. Basinger, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Room 227 Kilgore Hall, Box 7609, 2721 Founders Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695. (E-mail:


A field study was conducted in 2014 and 2015 in an established 5-yr old commercial blackberry planting to determine the effect of vegetation-free strip width (VFSW) on ‘Navaho’ blackberry vegetative growth, yield and fruit quality parameters, identify the optimum VFSW for blackberry plantings in the southeastern USA, and provide practical groundcover management recommendations that can increase the productivity of blackberry plantings. In Fall 2013, tall fescue was seeded in-row and allowed to establish. In Spring 2014, VFSW treatments (0, 0.6, 0.9, 1.2, and 1.8 m) were established in a randomized complete block statistical design with four replications. Blackberry growth measurements included primocane and floricane number, cane diam, individual fruit weight and yield. Fruit quality measurements included, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA) and pH. Primocane number increased with increasing VFSW in both years. Floricane number increased with increasing VFSW in 2014. Primocane diam decreased with increasing VFSW in 2014 but had a quadratic response in 2015. Berry weight and cumulative yield increased with increasing VFSW in both years. The only berry quality component affected by VFSW was pH, which decreased as VFSW increased. Results indicate that widening the VFSW in blackberry from the current recommendation of 1.2 m to 1.8 m could provide growers a means to increase plant growth, berry weight, and cumulative yield blackberry of a planting.

Weed Management-Other Crops/Areas
© Weed Science Society of America, 2017 

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