PIKETON, Ohio – Ohio berry growers will have the opportunity to learn about Ohio cane fruit pruning during a March 16 workshop by Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).
OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach arms of OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The event will be hosted by Gary Gao, OSU Extension specialist and associate professor of small fruit crops at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon.
According to Gao, grafting is a new concept to cane fruit growers, which is why it will be a main topic at the workshop. Ohio State researchers are currently conducting research on grafting blueberries using a fruit-bearing shrub or small tree called sparkleberry as a rootstock. Sparkleberry is a native North American blueberry variety. Grafted blueberries may exhibit a small tree form instead of the typical multi-stemmed bush form, which may help improve machine harvest efficiency. Sparkleberries also have a tolerance for higher pH levels.
Super fruits will be another topic covered at the workshop. In order for a fruit to be considered a “super fruit,” nutrition scientists must determine that the fruit contains enough antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, Gao said. Many crops, including blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, raspberries and grapes, are considered “super fruits.”
“There is good potential for Ohio growers to turn a profit while providing consumers with highly nutritious fruits with some of these crops,” said Gao. “I encourage folks to read articles on the health benefits of super fruits since many health benefits have been well documented.”
Container fruit production, also an area of focus at the workshop, involves growing fruits in large pots in artificial growing media, such as aged pine bark with or without the addition of lime and other materials, said Gao. This can help with harvest season extension and winter protection.
Chemigation is another method used to grow cane fruit. Under chemigation, pesticides are applied using micro-sprinklers to control insects. The practice can aid pest management and improve fruit quality while reducing labor costs and fruit loss, said Gao.
The workshop will also offer pruning demonstrations of grapevines, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
The workshop will take place on March 16 at the OSU South Centers Auditorium, 1864 Shyville Road in Piketon from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Gao, along with viticulture outreach specialist Dave Scurlock, research assistant Ryan Slaughter, and food, nutrition and wellness field specialist Dan Remley — all with OSU Extension or OARDC — will be speaking at the workshop.
The cost of the workshop is $25 and includes lunch.
To register for this event, contact Charissa Gardner by phone at 740-289-2071, ext. 132, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to register is March 13.
740-289-2071, ext. 123