Wind Speed Affects Pollination Success in Blackberries
Keywords:Fruit-set, landscape, agroecology, sweetness
Pollination of wild plants and agricultural crops is a vitally important ecosystem service. Many landscape and environmental factors influence the pollination success of crops, including distance from natural habitat, wind speed, and solar radiation. Although there is a general consensus that increasing distance from forest decreases pollination success, few studies have examined the influence of specific environmental factors. In this study, we examined which environmental factors influence the pollination success of blackberries (Rubus glaucus). We measured the number of fruitlets per berry, a proxy for pollination success, as well as the weight and sweetness of each berry. Our results indicate that number of fruitlets is positively correlated with wind speed, but number of unripe red berries per bush is negatively correlated with wind speed. In addition, sweetness increased with increasing numbers of red berries per bush but was lower when flowers and berries were present, though this result should be considered with caution due to methodological limitations. Our findings suggest that a little studied environmental factor, wind, has a large impact on the number of fruitlets in blackberries. Although our findings should be confirmed in other locations to draw broader conclusions, they suggest that producers should consider the effect of wind on blackberry yield to optimize blackberry production.
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