The interactive effects of nitrogen rate (0, 28, 56, and 112 kg/ha), vine density (0, 1.8, 3.6, and 5.4 t/ha of the cultivar ‘Stevens’), and weed management (preemergence herbicide, postemergence control, inoculation with weed seeds, and untreated) were determined on the recolonization of open spaces caused by localized biomass removal in a newly planted commercial cranberry bed. To assess the effect of the 64 treatment combinations on initial colonization, all cranberry and weed biomass was removed from a randomly selected 930-cm2 area in each plot in Year 1. To quantify recolonization of the disturbed area, the same quadrat was resampled and all plant biomass was collected in Year 2. Cranberry biomass production in the disturbed area increased in a quadratic fashion with increasing N rates for all vine densities except zero. Cranberry biomass in the year after disturbance was positively correlated with cranberry biomass present in the previous year. Weed stem biomass in the year after disturbance was positively correlated with weed stem biomass from Year 1 and negatively correlated with percentage cranberry biomass from Year 1 and Year 2. Less than one-third of the treatment combinations recovered enough to produce at least 200 g/m2 1 yr postdisturbance (a reasonable expectation of biomass production). Growers who have low weed pressure and extensive cranberry cover on their farms can expect that disturbed areas will be recolonized by cranberry vines when they utilize adequate, but not excessive, nitrogen regimes.
Nomenclature: Cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.