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Factors influencing colonization and establishment of plant species on cranberry bogs

Hilary A Sandler, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The objective of this study was to obtain and interpret field data related to the establishment of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) plantings, as well as examine the impact of conventional weed management practices on yield components and weed control. Integrated weed management, recently recognized by weed scientists as a desired goal for research and extension, is an important part of current cranberry production. This research was designed to permit the incorporation of the collected data into practical grower recommendations, as well as to expand our general knowledge about invasion ecology and plant species composition in new and established commercial plantings. Data from four years of repeat annual applications of 0, 1.8, and 4.5 kg ai/ha dichlobenil in low-weed and high-weed density areas indicated minimal negative impact on cranberry vines. Herbicide application did not adversely affect upright productivity, biomass, fruit set, or other yield parameters; in addition, no improvements for these parameters were noted. No consistent treatment effect on cranberry root length was seen. The presence of weeds, rather than herbicide application, was the important determinant of yield. Vines in low-weed density areas produced more marketable fruit and had higher percentage fruit set than vines growing in high-weed density areas. Results suggest that repeat annual applications of dichlobenil to commercial cranberry beds may be considered as part of a viable integrated weed management program with no adverse effect on crop growth or yield. One specific goal of this research was to identify the most beneficial combination of nitrogen rate, vine planting density, and weed management option that would promote quick and economical vine establishment of the cultivar, Stevens, while providing adequate and cost-effective weed control. After two years, several treatment combinations seemed promising for commercial implementation. However, the most cost-effective production scheme for establishing a new planting was to plant vines at a low density, use moderate rates of nitrogen, and apply a yearly application of napropamide for weed control. This combination produced substantial vine coverage at very low cost, reduced weed biomass by 85% compared to the untreated plots, and gave the best control per dollar spent.

Subject Area

Plant propagation|Botany|Agronomy

Recommended Citation

Sandler, Hilary A, "Factors influencing colonization and establishment of plant species on cranberry bogs" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3118331.