University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Primocane blackberry production in the upper south is limited by high temperatures during the bloom and early fruiting period, resulting in poor fruit set and poor fruit quality. Shade may have the potential to delay bloom and flowering to a more favorable season. A greenhouse study was established to evaluate the effects of shade on primocane blackberry growth, physiology, and fruiting. Single rooted plants of ‘Prime-Ark® 45’ were planted in 12-liter pots and grown in a greenhouse at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Fayetteville, Arkansas. At approximately 0.25 m in height, one of the four following treatments was imposed with eleven single plant replications: 1) an untreated control (CK), 2) unshaded for 29 days then shaded for 30 days (US), 3) shaded for 29 days then shaded for 30 days (SS), and 4) shaded for 29 days and unshaded for 30 days (SU). Plants in the SU treatment were significantly taller than the SS and CK. Dry weight of leaves was consistent for all treatments except for SS which was significantly lower than the others. The CK bloomed first followed by US and SS. The last to bloom was the SU, 26 days after the CK. In conclusion, there was a delay of ‘Prime-Ark 45’ flower formation when 50% shade cloth was implemented and removed in the SU treatment. Further research needs to be completed to find the optimal intensity and timing of shade implementation that will improve fruit set in the southern region.