- Fruits: grapes
- Crop Production: Frost protection
Haskaps (Lonicera caerulea) are a new small fruit crop, which are gaining popularity in New York State. Responding to consumer demand, for an increase in healthy fruits, growers in the Hudson Valley Region of New York State are continually searching for new, high quality fruits that meet these demands. Additionally, growers are concerned about the increasing impact of spotted wing Drosophila on mid-season and late season berries. Berry educators Laura McDermott and James O’Connell of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program (ENYCHP) previously evaluated select varieties of Haskaps at four farms across the Hudson Valley, of which, one was my farm (Christopher Jacobs Winery at Pennings Vineyards). These cultivars, released from the University of Saskatchewan breeding program are reported to have higher fruit quality than their predecessors, “Blue Honeysuckles.” Overall, the Haskaps did well and survived the winter with no injury. However, injury did occur from a late frost in April of 2016. Most or all of the open blossoms were killed and injury varied to other bud stages. Haskaps have a low chilling requirement and in years with a warm spring, they can break dormancy early. This project will evaluate two frost control measures: floating row covers and KDL (potassium dextrose lactose), a chemical spray used a frost control measure in other fruit crops. This project will also seek to examine the hardiness of the various bud stages (tight bud, elongated bud, open blossom) of Haskaps during frost.
Project objectives from proposal:
We propose to evaluate a new frost control measure, specifically, Potassium Dextor-Lac (KDL). As previously mentioned, cost is a major concern for us, particularly since Haskaps are a minor crop. Overhead irrigation is a reliable frost protection method. However, an unseasonably dry summer followed a warmer than normal winter and a lack of rainfall concerned growers across New York State. We are conscious of our water use and seek to use this limited resource efficiently. We use drip or micro Irrigation on all of our fruit crops and prioritize this use of our water over frost protection. Jim O’Connell has communicated to us about ongoing research at Cornell on the use of KDL in grapes, as well as successful (anecdotally) use by a local grape grower to prevent frost injury in grapes. KDL is a potassium nutrient spray that reduces available water inside plant cells during a frost. We propose to compare this KDL to floating row covers. KDL costs about $21/gal. It’s applied at the rate of ½ gallon per acre, costing about $2.50/ft2. Also, since it is a spray, labor costs to apply and remove the row cover are eliminated.