Ornamental Bittersweet Production for Small Woodland Farms
Ornamental specialty crops can extend the marketing season and provide additional income for proudcers in some of the highly erodible forested ares of the North Central region.
Objectives: To develop a system to commercially produce American bittersweet. Field preparation prior to planting consisted of plowing down a green cover crop, applying fertilizer as dictated by soil tests, subsoiling to breakup hardpan in rows and incorporating composted sawdust. Three species of bitterroot were obtained for evaluation. Planting was completed by June 1. Establishment and survival was excellent, and trellises were in place as vines began elongation in August.
Results: Depending on variety, roughly 50% of the plantings exhibited eight to 12 inches of vine growth. Although maximum production will not be realized for four to five years, some harvest should be available in 1999. The project has been extended one year for further evaluation.