Blaedow, K.1; Chandler, Jeff2; Fernandez, Gina3; Clark, John4
1Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension, Hendersonville, NC, 28792
2Director Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, NC State University, Mills River, NC, 28759
3Distinguished Professor, NC State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695
4Distinquished Professor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701


In 2018, ten advanced breeding lines from the University of Arkansas’ breeding program were planted at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC to be evaluated for commercial suitability in Western North Carolina. The objective of the project is to help farmers identify the best genetics for environmental and market conditions in the mountains. Throughout the growing season each blackberry line was evaluated for overall viability, winter hardiness, harvest windows, fruit quality, and productivity. Observations and data collected in 2019 identified two breeding lines of significant interest for commercial production in NC. Ponca produced fruit early in the season and exhibited superior flavor above all the others in the trial and APF-370T showed the greatest potential for double cropping as well as excellent berry firmness and shelf-life. Results from the trial will be presented at the Annual North Carolina Commercial Blackberry and Raspberry Growers Association Meeting and Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center field days. Trial outcomes will help growers identify highly adapted cultivars to plant in the future to stay competitive and successful in the blackberry industry.

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