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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Kaolin Clay Application on Flower Bud Development, Fruit Quality and Yield, and Flower Thrips [frankliniella Spp. (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)] Populations of Blueberry Plants

item Spiers, James - MS STATE UNIVERSITY
item Matta, Frank - MS STATE UNIVERSITY
item Marshall-Shaw, Donna
item Sampson, Blair

Submitted to: Small Fruit Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2004
Publication Date: July 27, 2004
Citation: Spiers, J.D., Matta, F.B., Marshall, D.A., Sampson, B.J. 2004. Effects of kaolin clay application on flower bud development, fruit quality and yield, and flower thrips [frankliniella spp. (thysanoptera: thripidae)] populations of blueberry plants. Small Fruit Reviews. vol.3(3/4)pp.361-373.

Interpretive Summary: An application of kaolin clay particle film at pre-fruit (50% bloom) can provide horticultural beneftis to blueberry plants. When applied before fruit set, yield enhancement can be obtained without any significant residue on the berries. Kaolin clay can be used to increased fruit set without affecting fruit quality. The application of kaolin can promote growth of blueberry plants without affecting pollination. Kaolin clay particle films can be an effective method for reducing thrips populations associated with important element of blueberry IPM. Kaolin that is not amended with prohibited substances can also be a viable method of increased growth, fruit set and enhanced yield for certified organic farmers.

Technical Abstract: Three seperate studies were conducted to report the effects of kaolin applications (Surround WP) on southern highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) and rabbiteye (V.ashei Reade) blueberries. When applied to mature blueberry plants, kaolin clay emulsion dried to form a white reflective film and affected bud development, fruit set and development, plant growth, and fruit yield, but had no effect on fruit quality parameters. When kaolin was applied before fruit set, yield was increased with no significant residue left on the fruit. Surround WP consistently reduced the number of flower thrips (Frankliniells spp.) within the canopy of rabbiteye blueberry plants by approximately 50%. Kaolin applications were not phytotoxic to blueberry buds, flowers, leaves, or fruit and were harmless to foraging bees.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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