Weed Management, Training, and Irrigation Practices for Organic Production of Trailing Blackberry: II. Soil and Aboveground Plant Nutrient Concentrations Public Deposited

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  • Organic production of blackberries is increasing, but there is relatively little known about how production practices affect plant and soil nutrient status. The impact of cultivar (Black Diamond and Marion), weed management (nonweeded, hand-weeded, and weed mat), primocane training time (August and February), and irrigation (throughout the summer and none postharvest) on plant nutrient status and soil pH, organic matter, and nutrients was evaluated from Oct. 2012 to Dec. 2014 in a mature trailing blackberry (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus Watson) production system. The study site was certified organic and machine harvested for the processed market. The planting was irrigated by drip and fertigated with fish hydrolysate and fish emulsion fertilizer. Soil pH, organic matter content, and concentrations of soil nutrients, including ammonium-nitrogen (NH₄-N), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn), were greater under weed mat than in hand-weeded plots. Soil K and boron (B) were below recommended standards during the study, despite a high content of K in the fish fertilizer and supplemental B applications. Primocane leaf nutrient concentrations were below the N, K, Ca, and Mg sufficiency standards in ‘Black Diamond’ and were lower than in ‘Marion’ for N, phosphorus (P), Ca, Mg, S, B, and Zn in at least one year. In contrast, floricane leaves and fruit tended to have higher nutrient concentrations in ‘Black Diamond’ than in ‘Marion’. Weed management strategy affected many nutrients in the soil, leaves, and fruit. Often, use of weed mat led to the highest concentrations. Withholding irrigation postharvest had limited effects on plant nutrient concentrations. Primocane training time affected the nutrients in each plant part differently depending on year.
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  • Dixon, E. K., Strik, B. C., & Bryla, D. R. (2016). Weed management, training, and irrigation practices for organic production of trailing blackberry: II. Soil and aboveground plant nutrient concentrations. HortScience, 51(1), 36-50.
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