Thursday, August 15, 2013

Oriental Bittersweet Berry Ripening Accelerated After Vine Cutting?

A recent (8/14/13) visit to the Riverfront Park Work Day site revealed a remarkable contrast between oriental berry development on vines that were cut a week ago to create site access paths and vines that have not been cut yet.

Berries on uncut vines are slowly turning from a bright lime green to a "pea soup" green as the slow ripening process occurs. The berries will show much greater ripening and color change in September as fall approaches.

But berries on cut vines have quickly ripened, with the shells already opened to reveal bright orange berries!

Above: Accelerated ripening of berries a week after vine cutting. GPIP photo taken 8/14/13.
This observation reinforces the need to try to cut vines by mid-July before the berries are capable of ripening, dropping and becoming seedlings in the spring. It also underscores the need for careful vine disposal if mature vines bearing seeds are cut later in the summer because even if the seeds are green when the vine is cut, they can quickly ripen and re-infest the site or the disposal location.