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.
Mature blueberry plant selections of MS 132 and MS 108 planted in central Alabama (Jemison, AL) were evaluated in 2011. These selections have been evaluated for many years and have proven to be well suited for the climate. These southern highbush selections bloom late enough to survive the typical climate in central Alabama, and both show great potential for use in home/backyard or “pick-your-own” settings. Five other selections and the cultivar ‘Prince’ were received in late spring 2009, and were subsequently bumped up from 1 gal pots to 3 gal pots. A site for evaluating germplasm was prepared within the Piedmont Research Unit at Camp Hill, AL, in February 2010, and the blueberry selections (MS 282, MS 614, MS 632, MS 705, MS 840, MS 812 and ‘Prince’) were planted in March 2010, and initial evaluations were conducted in 2011. The ADODR or his representative met regularly with the cooperating scientist, and these meetings included site visits.