Impacts and comparisons of pruning and sanding on cranberry uprights and yield production
In Spring 2003, 6 study beds were selected at a cranberry farm in Rochester, MA another farm in South Carver, MA. The six treatments were: pruning + 0, 20, 40, or 60 lb/A nitrogen, sanding + 30 lb/A nitrogen, and no pruning + 30 lb/A nitrogen. The sites received pruning and nitrogen treatments as proposed. However, the first South Carver site was abandoned in 2003 due to the grower’s management decision to renovate the section of cranberry bog (poison ivy infestation). Another site in South Carver was selected in 2004 and 5 of the 6 treatments (all treatments except sanding) were applied to both the Rochester site (second year) and the second South Carver site (initial year) in 2004. The sanding treatment was planned for the winter 2004-05. However, the grower was unable to apply the sanding treatment. It was hoped that the sanding treatment would be applied during Winter 2005-06. Unfortunately, the grower was not able to apply the sanding treatment during the past winter.
Discussions were initiated (November 2005) with SARE headquarters to explain the difficulty in fulfilling the objectives of the study (see below). The sanding component was critical to the essence of the study. SARE had been contacted after the grower was not able to sand in the Winter 04-05. Upon the request of the PI, the grant was given a no-cost extension until December 31, 2007. It was decided to attempt application of the sanding treatment for one more winter (05-06), which would still allow for 2 years of field evaluation (in 2006 and 2007). However, no sanding treatment was made in the Winter 2005-06. After thoughtful consideration between the PI and SARE, it was concluded to terminate the study and make attempts to extract some useful information with 3 years of data from the Rochester site (2003-05) and 2 years data from the South Carver site (2004-05). The results of the re-analysis (omitting sanding) will be presented in the final report.
Comparison of sanding (common practice) and mechanical pruning (uncommon practice) as horticultural practices to increase cranberry vine vigor and improve canopy architecture.
Determine if pruning has any negative impacts on yield or general plant health.
Evaluate interaction of pruning and various nitrogen management plans on cranberry productivity.
Demonstration beds were selected and monitored.
Treatments (pruning and nitrogen rates) were applied by the grower.
Baseline (spring, initial year only) and post-treatment (late summer) upright samples were collected from two sites by UMass research personnel in 2003 (1 site), 2004 and 2005 (two sites).
Fruit samples were collected in the early fall in 2003 (1 site), 2004 and 2005 (two sites).
The fist Carver site was dropped from the study in 2003. This is certainly an unfortunate event as we lost the opportunity to evaluate two sites for 3 years post-treatment. However, the dropped site was quite compromised by poison ivy infestation and the weed pressure may have affected treatment results. The grower assigned a new site to the project in 2004. Three years of data have been collected for the Rochester site and two years of data for the new Carver site.
Sanding was not accomplished in Year 2, Year 3, or Year 4 due to labor shortage, weather conditions and management choices on the grower’s part.
The PI contacted SARE (D. Holm) in November 2005 to discuss concerns with the “non-application” of the sanding treatment. The project was due to end December 31, 2005 and the inability of the grower to accomplish this task has delayed treatment comparison in accordance to the timeline and objectives established in the proposal. The goal of the project was to compare sanding vs. pruning for at least 1-2 years folowing the sanding treatment. Since this treatment did not occur during any of the four years (3 years + 1 no-cost extension year) of the study, it was decided to terminate the study and make attempts to extract some useful information with 3 years of data from the Rochester site (2003-05) and 2 years data from the South Carver site (2004-05).
The PI sincerely regrets the failure of the project to reach the goals initially established in the proposal. In spite of this, the PI is confident that some useful information regarding the interaction of repetitive pruning and fertilizer application will be generated. The results of the re-analysis will be presented in the final report. The PI appreciates the support and understanding the SARE has given throughout the course of the study and will do her best to address the original outcomes, accomplishments and outreach as outlined in the proposal.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
This is the fourth year of a 3-year study (PI had asked for a no-cost extension). The official end-date for this project is 12/31/2007. Results had not been compiled previous since we were hopeful that the sanding treatment would be applied this past winter and were waiting to do a complete data analysis. Thus no newsletters, presentations, or other outreach were conducted as the PI felt the data set was incomplete according to the original terms and objectives of the proposal.
We interacted with our farmer-cooperator in Years 1-4. Impacts on the grower community and audiences are anticipated to occur in 2007 as results are tabulated according to the available data. Data will be published in UMass Cranberry Station newsletters, presented at grower workshops, and incorporated in the Chart Book recommendations as appropriate.