University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


Studies were conducted in early 2003 to determine the effect of root source and length on yield of adventitious shoots from root cuttings and on subsequent plant yield for University of Arkansas-developed thornless blackberries. In the first study, roots from 'Arapaho' and 'Apache' plants grown in an aboveground bed containing commercial potting soil were compared to field-grown roots. Bed-grown roots averaged 6.9 shoots per 15 cm root cutting while field grown roots averaged 3.4. 'Apache' produced more shoots/root cutting compared to Arapaho, (5.9 vs. 4.4 shoots/root cutting, respectively). In a comparison of 15- vs. 30-cm-long root cuttings of 'Apache', 'Arapaho', and 'Ouachita', shoot yield of 30-cm roots was higher than that of 15 cm roots, but total yield of shoots per root unit was not increased by the longer root cuttings. Rooting of adventitious shoots neared 100% in both studies, and resulting quality of plants from these shoots was very good. This minor modification to the traditional method of planting root pieces to yield individual plants could lead to a more efficient and productive yield of propagules. The use of adventitious shoots from root cuttings for blackberry plant propagation appears to be a viable method for nurserymen to consider.