Date of Graduation

Fall 2018


Master of Science in Plant Science (Agriculture)


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Melissa Remley


Lycium barbarum, Goji Berry, greens, air root pruning, Midwest, Solanaceae

Subject Categories

Horticulture | Other Plant Sciences


Goji berry plants (Lycium barbarum L.) are grown across the globe for their berries and the health benefits that come from eating those berries. However, in Ningxia, China, Goji berry plants are also grown as a source of edible greens. In order to harvest the young green shoots, the plants are subjected to intense pruning and kept as a small, low-growing shrub. There is little information on this method of Goji berry management and greens production in the United States. The purpose of this research is to determine if Goji berry cultivars grown for berry production in the United States can survive and grow under the intense pruning used for Goji berry greens production. This research will also examine the effect of air root pruning on potted Goji berry plants grown in greenhouse conditions, as well as transplant success into field conditions and subsequent plant vigor and survival. Three cultivars, ‘Big Lifeberry’, ‘Vermillion Sunset’, and 'Sweet Lifeberry’ were evaluated in this experiment. Forty plants of each cultivar were purchased from Stark Bros Nursery in Louisiana, MO. Twenty plants from each cultivar were potted in air root pruning containers and the other 20 plants were potted into standard non-air root pruning containers. In May 2018, eight plants of each cultivar (four plants from each treatment) were harvested and their rootballs were rinsed, weighed, and scanned for total root length, volume, average diameter, and number of root tips. The remaining plants were transplanted into the field in a complete randomized design with four replications, six plots, and four plants per plot. When new shoots were harvested for greens, fresh weight, dry weight, number of shoots, total shoot length, and average shoot length, were measured per plant. Few differences of rooting characteristics and greens production were found between the air root pruned and non-air root pruned plants. The cultivars exhibited late spring and early summer growth, reduced growth in the middle of summer, and the most abundant growth early fall through late fall. Of the three cultivars evaluated, ‘Big Lifeberry’ produced consistently greater yields of greens throughout the growing season.


© Jesse Lee Carroll

Open Access