BLUEBERRY GERMPLASM EVALUATION AND IMPROVEMENT
Southern Horticultural Research
2009 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To develop genetically enhanced germplasm for cultivated small fruit crops to include blueberries. Emphasis will be directed toward cultural and climatic adaptability for the southern United States, increased winter hardiness, increased fruit quality, extension of harvest season and fruit marketability, and potential for mechanical harvesting.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Conventional breeding and cultural techniques will be evaluated throughout the southeastern United States. Hybridization of prepotent parents for specific locations will be followed by selection of plants having desired character combinations for evaluation of horticultural potential. Seedling progeny developed for specific cooperator locations will be distributed. Existing progenies planted at cooperator locations in the southern U. S. will be screened for plants with improved characteristics. Evaluation of advanced selections and cultural practices will be continued at these locations. Fruit from superior germplasm will be evaluated in field and laboratory tests for quality, shelf-life, marketability, and adaptability to mechanical harvesting.
One hundred blueberry crosses were made, 2,000 blueberry seedlings were evaluated, and about 25 selections were made. Southern highbush and rabbiteye blueberry selections in 5 locations in three states were evaluated. Selections from previous year evaluations were propagated and planted for further evaluation. Four selections which had been greenhouse and field evalauted were propagated and will be planted in 6 locations for final evaluations before being released as cultivars. The ADODR meets regularly, at least 5 times per year, with the cooperating scientist and two meetings include site visits.