How are cranberries grown and cultivated?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Cranberries grow on vines in boggy areas. Cranberries were first cultivated in Massachusetts around 1815 .

    The cultivated species is the native American or large cranberry (O. or V. macrocarpus). Most cranberries are harvested by machine, but machines damage the berry.

    Cranberries can't be grown by regular farming techniques. They can grow and survive only in the presence of a rare and fragile combination of soils and geology, as well as the right

    climate, ample water supply, and a dedicated grower. Not only is the cranberry

    a unique fruit, unlike any other, but it is grown and harvested in a unique way.

    It is a perennial crop. Once planted and carefully tended, the vines will

    continue producing fruit year after year. A 75 - 100 year old cranberry bed still

    in production is not rare. The berry's growth cycle and harvest also requires the support

    of an ecological system that includes uplands,

    dikes, and reservoirs.

    In the fall and spring, sprinkling protects against frost, which can ruin a year's crop. In Oregon, frost season usually lasts from March to May. Growers must keep a "frost watch" on cold

    nights, monitoring temperatures and starting sprinklers at all hours to prevent

    severe crop damage. Flooding in the spring is also a chemical-free method for

    weed, fungus and insect control. Each stage of the growing season is reflected

    in the changing colors of the cranberry beds. In the late spring, light pink

    flowers bloom. The federal government terms water used by growers to be predominately

    non-consumptive since the water "does not degrade in quality or quantity" and

    growers in cranberry producing states have worked with the U.S. Department

    of Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service and state agencies to promote the

    recycling and reuse of water.

    canberry harvest

    Cranberries grow on a low-lying vine. Harvested in the fall, each cranberry

    bed must have an ample water supply for irrigation and flooding. Growers

    flood the the cranberry beds to harvest the berries. Flooding causes the vines

    bearing the fruit to rise, so a harvester can move over the water and loosen the

    fruit from the vines. The brilliant red berries float tightly together, resembling

    a plush red carpet. The floating berries are corralled with wooden or inflatable

    booms, then pumped or pushed into waiting trucks. The flood water is recycled

    in the agricultural system, passing from bed to bed and grower to grower

    through an intricate underground piping system and ponds. The Oregon berry

    is sold as fresh fruit, processed into one of the popular juice or sauce products

    that have evolved in recent years, or sold for concentration.

    The Cranberry Wetlands

    Cranberry wetlands exist in only five states of the United States. These lands, located in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin, all provide the unique environment necessary for cranberry plants to flourish.

    In each location, ancient lake beds were formed when the glaciers retreated. Because the lake beds isolate peat bogs from groundwater, the soil contains few nutrients and is very acidic. In addition, the temperature in these areas can be quite low, even during summer. Few plants could survive such adverse conditions, but the hardy cranberry vine thrives!

    Although cranberry wetlands occupy more than 100,000 acres in Wisconsin, cranberries are only grown on about 10,000 of those acres. The other acreage, called support land, consists of natural and manmade wetlands, woodlands, and uplands—all maintained at the grower’s expense. Each cranberry marsh’s water control system—reservoirs, dikes, dams, ditches, and canals—is located on this support land. This system is necessary because the cranberry vine is a water-dependent plant (as rice is), requiring water during growth and dormant times. Each year, growers use water for:

    Irrigation and Frost Protection (frost can ruin the crop in 15 minutes; drought can damage the crop within a week and kill the plant soon thereafter)—water is applied to the cranberry vines with a sprinkling system.

    harvest—beds are flooded and berries float to the surface to be picked, either mechanically raked or beaten from the vines with mechanical water reels.

    Winter Flooding (when the soil is frozen, a winter wind can kill exposed vines within 24 hours)—the vines are frozen in ice for four months to protect against severe Wisconsin winters.

    Spring and fall flooding—the vines are flooded to protect them from severe cold (water is held just one to three days).

    The bottom line is that for every acre of cranberries cultivated, growers must maintain an additional 11 acres of support land to ensure an adequate water supply for their crop. Since this land is relatively inaccessible, it provides an ideal refuge for wildlife. Animals, plants, waterfowl, shore birds, birds of prey, songbirds, reptiles, and fish all breed, feed, and winter in Wisconsin’s cranberry wetlands.

    Although the water that is held on these lands aids the cranberry marsh, it also stabilizes surface and ground water levels in adjoining wetlands. As a result, the cranberry wetland ecosystem is less affected by weather extremes, such as drought or flooding. Cranberry wetlands and their adjacent support lands remain fertile year round, providing an environmentally stable habitat for plants and animals alike. In contrast, almost 500 acres of unmanaged wetlands are lost each year due to extreme weather conditions. For the plants and animals living in those wetlands, the results can be devastating.

    Source(s): studied one year on the same subject.
  • 1 decade ago

    They are similar to blueberries...grow close to the ground and usually cultivated with a rake/shovel

  • 1 decade ago

    cranberrys grow in bushses and when there ripe thay flood the bogs and get the cranberrys cause thay float

  • 1 decade ago

    The cool part is when they flood the bogs and all the berries float to the surface. Then they corrale the floating berries with booms in order to harvest them.

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  • they are grown in cranbery bogs and cultivated by people

  • 1 decade ago

    grow in water and collected by people from water.

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