Performance of highbush blueberries in north Florida

Peter C. Andersen, Jeff G. Williamson, E. Paul Miller, Paul M. Lyrene


A southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) planting was initiated at the NFREC–Quincy during Spring 2003. The experimental planting consisted of ‘Bluecrisp’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Millennia’, ‘Misty’, ‘O’Neal’, ‘Sharpblue’ and ‘Star’. Plants were mulched with approximately a 10-cm layer of pine bark and were supplied with drip irrigation. Overhead freeze protection was not applied. Yield per bush, berry weight, and soluble solids was measured in 2004; however, because of herbivory by crows in 2005 yields were not determined and only samples of berries were evalu­ated for berry weight and soluble solids. From 2006 to 2008, yields were rated before berry ripening and before crow herbivory. During 2004, yields per bush varied between 19 g for ‘Misty’ and 1250 g for ‘Star’. ‘Emerald’ and ‘Star’ produced a consistent crop in 2006 (62% to 63% of a crop) and 2007 (49% to 50% of a crop). In 2008, ‘Emerald’ had a small crop of large berries and ‘Star’ had a moderate crop, although berry size was small. ‘Millennia’ produced a moderate crop in 2004, 2006, and 2007 and a small crop in 2008. Yield rating of ‘Misty’ was highest of all cultivars in 2007, but was low in 2006 and moderate in 2008. ‘O’Neal’ produced about 50% of a crop from 2006 to 2008. ‘Jewel’ and ‘Sharpblue’ had low yield ratings during all years. Berry weights averaged at least 1.4 g in all years except 2007. Average soluble solids were higher in 2006 (13.2 °Brix), 2007 (12.0 °Brix) and 2008 (14.5 °Brix) compared to 2004 (9.8 °Brix) and 2005 (8.9 °Brix). ‘Bluecrisp’ had the highest soluble solids in 2006 (15.2 °Brix) and 2008 (16.3 °Brix), whereas ‘Emerald’ had the highest soluble solids in 2007 (13.9 °Brix). Overall berry quality was highest for ‘Bluecrisp’, although yield was not as high as some of the cultivars. Percentage survival ranged from 53% (‘Jewel’) to 100% (‘Emerald’). Bush size was largest for ‘Star’ and ‘O ‘Neal’ and smallest for ‘Sharpblue’.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283