1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Evaluate genetically enhanced germplasm for cultivated small fruits. Emphasis will be directed toward cultural and climatic adaptability for the southern United States, increased winter hardiness, extension of harvest season, and potential for mechanical harvesting.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Distribute small fruit selections developed for specific cooperator locations. Existing selections planted at cooperator locations in Alabama will be screened for improved characteristics. Evaluation of advanced selections and cultural practices will be contributed at these locations.
Experimental blueberry selections provided by the USDA-ARS, Poplarville, MS are growing well, and though many are not 3 years old yet, we collected fruit and conducted quality analysis from selections in late May thru June 2012. All selections showed good fruit quality with acceptably small picking scars. Berry size was slightly greater for MS 705, compared to MS 282 and MS 614. There is missing data for MS 108 and MS 132 due to experimental error. ‘Pearl’, ‘Gupton’, ‘Prince’ and ‘Desoto’ were planted in January 2013, and since plants were already large, fruit quality data was collected in 2013, however, a late spring frost severely reduced fruit load. Additional plots have been prepared in advance of approximately 20 additional elite rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberry selections that will be established this coming fall.