Cranberry industry., Cranberry Station (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), Cranberry production, Best Management Practices
Regulatory restrictions on development of new cranberry bogs in wetlands have resulted in a limitation on the sites where bogs may be constructed. While renovation of existing wetland cranberry bogs is permitted, new acreage is restricted to non-traditional settings, typically uplands. In either setting, an ample supply of good quality fresh water, adequate drainage of the bogs, and the ability to hold a flood to cover the cranberry vines are essential to successful cranberry production.
In traditional wetland bogs, nutrients and pesticides are retained in the soil of the bog largely due to the high organic matter content of the peat and muck soils. In such settings, the risk of groundwater contamination is minimal. During renovation of these wetland bogs, the organic subsoils remain essentially undisturbed and continue to provide protection for the groundwater beneath the renovated bog.
When bogs are constructed on mineral soils with low organic matter content, there is an increased risk of fertilizer and pesticide leaching as water moves downward through the soil profile. To permit the use of conventional management operations (e.g., maintaining a flood), non-traditional sites must be engineered to provide suitable site hydrology and soil characteristics that mimic traditional wetland settings. Adapting the existing site hydrology to one that supports cranberry production may require manipulation of the water table, soil permeability, soil texture, and soil organic carbon content. Proper site selection and construction are essential if cranberry production in non-traditional settings is to utilize conventional cultural activities, keep production costs minimized, and protect groundwater resources. Following the recommendations below can optimize these objectives.