Effect of floral bud and fruitlet thinning on ‘Emerald’ southern highbush blueberry

Gary K. Englang

Abstract


Producers of commercial southern highbush blueberries strive to harvest the majority of their crop in the first few weeks of the Florida harvest window, which generally runs from mid-March to the first week of May, to capitalize on the typically higher monetary return on early harvested fruit. A relatively high yielding cultivar named ‘Emerald’ is planted on a majority of farms in central Florida. Due to the extended harvest period for ‘Emerald’, significant quantities of fruit are not ready for harvest at a time when prices are at the optimum. A study was initiated in December 2013 to determine if there is any effect on earliness and/or crop value associated with no thinning and thinning either tight floral buds, bloom or developing fruitlets. A hand held Cinch® peach bloom thinner was utilized to thin approximately 30% of tight buds, bloom or developing fruitlets. Harvest will be conducted weekly to determine yield and compared with weekly reported USDA prices for economic comparison.

 


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