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Cranberry

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CRANBERRY, several trailing species of the family Vaccmiacem genus Oxycoccus. One of these species, O. marcrocarpus, is exten sively cultivated in the United States for its acid fruit which ripens in the autumn and may be kept until spring, and which finds an im portant culinary use in the making of sauce, pies, etc., but is never eaten as a dessert fruit. The crop of 1909 was reported to be 987,500 bushels, produced mainly in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Wisconsin, the balance being made up from smaller areas in the northern States. Though one of the species (O. oxycoccus) is a native of Europe as well as America, it has not developed European horticultural varieties. In deed, in Europe the cranberry is cultivated to a much smaller extent than in America.

The two species from which the cultivated varieties have been derived are O. oxycoccus, the smaller cranberry, and O. macrocarpus, the larger cranberry. Both are natives of northern swamps and marshes, especially such as are rich in peat; the latter species is confined to North America. Both are trailing vines bear ing small evergreen leaves, inconspicuous flowers and globular or pyriform red fruits borne on slender curved stalks, which suggested the name crane-berry— the neck of a crane. The American species is cultivated almost ex clusively and has developed the larger number of horticultural varieties, but the smaller cran berry is considered by many to produce finer flavored fruits. The general types of berries are globular, bell-shaped and bugle-shaped, with numerous varieties in each class.

Commercially, cranberries are grown in low, wet ground, though they are sometimes raised upon drier soils. The land selected must be drained, so that standing water will be at least a foot below the surface of the soil during summer; it must be retentive of moisture, since the plants quickly suffer in dry seasons; it must he level in order to be readily flooded in very dry weather, in winter, and when insects are seriously troublesome; it must be situated where injury from frosts will be as little as pos sible. Late spring frosts injure the blossoms; early autumn ones, the fruit. Further, there must be sufficient water to quickly flood the field. Bogs in which sphagnum moss grows upon a peat or muck soil are preferred and are con sidered specially promising if plants related to the cranberry grow naturally upon the land. Draining the bog and clearing it of trees, brush, roots, moss, etc., is followed by the digging of permanent open ditches two to four feet deep. These spread the water and remove it in times of flooding, etc. After the land is prepared it is usually covered with a few inches of sand to keep down weeds and thus reduce the cost of maintenance. In this sand cuttings six or eight inches long arc set at intervals of from 12 to 15 inches apart each way. Beyond the re moval of weeds no cultivation is generally given.

The third or fourth year a full crop may be ex pected; 50 barrels being a good yield, though four times that amount has been obtained. When the beds become too full of vines they are mown or burned over to start a fresh growth and every fourth or fifth year a fresh covering of an inch or so of sand is given. Sanding is not practised in some localities. The cost of preparing and planting a bed as above indicated varies from $300 to $500 an acre. Harvesting is done by hand when highest grades are picked; by raking and combing for the less choice.

Several diseases and insects attack the cran berry. Of the former the most serious is prob ably the scald, which appears most frequently in hot muggy seasons as a soft reddish-brown spot on the fruit, which quickly swells and gets hard, but later shrivels and either drops off or remains attached to the vine. The leaves are also more or less affected. Spraying with bor deaux mixture is found to be the most satis factory method of treatment. It is usually most easily done while the bed is flooded. Red galls are often troublesome upon the leaves. This is controlled by burning the beds over in the autumn to kill the spores of the fungus. A large and conspicuous distortion and redden ing of the green parts may sometimes prove destructive. The leading insect enemies are two caterpillars, one of which attacks the foliage, the other the fruit. The former, known as the black-headed fireworm, may be controlled by the application of kerosene or Paris green. The latter, a kind of span-worm, may be destroyed by spraying with an arsenite when the leaves are falling and the fruit is setting. Generally, .perhaps, the beds are flooded to destroy these and other insect pests.

Several other plants bear the name cranberry. Among the best known are V accinium vitis idea, known as low bush cranberry, wolf-berry, mountain cranberry and oowberry. It is a native of Europe and America and is often found in the markets, but is not cultivated. Its fruits reach American markets not only from the northern United States and eastern Canada, hut often from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The high-bush, high cranberry or cranberry-bush is a shrub, a species of Vibur num, which attains a height of 12 feet and bears scarlet berries which persist during win ter. The fruit is scarcely edible. This plant is the original species from which the snowball has been developed. In both forms it is a very attractive and popular ornamental shrub.

Bibliography.— Bailey, 'Standard Cyclo pedia of Horticulture> (New York 1914) ; White, (Cranberry Culture) (New York) ; Webb, (Ca_pe Cod Cranberries' ; Special Bulletin K, New Jersey Experiment Station, (Insects Injuriously Affecting Cranberries' ; (Proceed ings of the American Cranberry Growers' As sociation.>