Larvae of cranberry tipworm, Dasineura oxycoccana Johnson, disrupt early season growth of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) uprights or shoots by feeding on apical meristem tissue. A 2-yr field study was carried out at three different locations to determine the impact of tipworm feeding injury on the reproductive and vegetative growth of two cranberry cultivars (‘Howes’ and ‘Stevens’) in Massachusetts. In addition to tipworm-injured and intact control uprights, an artificial injury treatment simulating tipworm feeding was also included. Individual uprights of cranberry exhibited tolerance to natural (tipworm) and simulated apical meristem injury in the current growing season (fruit production) and results were corroborated by a greenhouse study. In the field study, weight of fruit was higher in tipworm-injured uprights as compared with intact control uprights at the sites with Howes. However, majority of injured uprights (tipworm and simulated) did not produce new growth from lateral buds (side-shoots) before the onset of dormancy. In the next growing season, fewer injured uprights resumed growth and produced flowers as compared with intact uprights at two of the three sites. We suggest that multiple-year studies focusing on whole plant response to tipworm herbivory will be required to determine the costs of chronic feeding injury over time.
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Vol. 106 • No. 3