Blueberry cultivar evaluation in Southwest Florida

T. A. Obreza, J. G. Williamson, R. L. Darnell, P. M. Lyrene


A high-density blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) planting was established in 1994 at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee to test the feasibility of producing blueberries in a warm winter climate. Gulf Coast', 'Sharpblue', and 'Wannabe' were the three main southern highbush cultivars evaluated, but several other numbered selections from the Univ. of Florida blueberry breeding program were planted nearby to test their potential productivity in south Florida. In 1998, 'Gulf Coast' and 'Sharpblue' yielded 1.45 lbs of fresh blueberries/plant, while 'Wannabe' produced insignificant yield. Yields of ten numbered selections ranged between 0.07 and 3.69 lbs of berries/plant. The selections 87-223,87-220, and 87-108 yielded 1.27, 2.49, and 3.69 lbs of berries/plant, respectively, making them worthy of further investigation. In 1999, 'Gulf Coast' and 'Sharpblue' yielded only 0.76 and 0.26 lbs of fresh berries/plant. The lower yields were attributed to abnormal air temperatures in autumn/winter 1998-99 compared with 1997-98. In 2000, which had more "normal" pre-bloom air temperatures, 'Gulf Coast' yielded 2.5 lbs of berries/plant.

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