Growth and yield of southern highbush blueberry in pine bark culture under varying fertilizer regimes

Jeffrey G. Williamson, Paul Miller

Abstract


Southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum hybrid) plants were grown on pine bark beds using several rates of granular or liquid fertilizers. Canopy volume and berry yield per plant increased linearly with increasing fertilizer rate up to the highest rate included in the study. Berry yields per plant were closely correlated with canopy size. No consistent differences in plant growth or yield were observed between granular or liquid fertilizer; however, ‘Star’ mean berry weight was slightly greater for granular fertilizer treatments than for liquid fertilizer treatments. Visual examination of excavated plants at the conclusion of the study indicated that roots of plants grown on pine bark beds were largely restricted to the pine bark layer and only a few roots were located in the native soil. Frequent irrigations required for shallow-rooted blueberries in pine bark beds, and the limited water and nutrient holding characteristics of pine bark, probably resulted in some fertilizer leaching below the root zone, which in turn may have resulted in a higher than expected fertilizer requirement


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