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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evergreen Production of Southern Highbush Blueberries in Hawaii

Authors
item Hummer, Kim
item Zee, Francis
item Strauss, Amy
item Keith, Lisa
item Nishijima, Wayne - UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

Submitted to: Journal of American Pomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2007
Publication Date: November 20, 2007
Citation: Hummer, K.E., Zee, F.T., Strauss, A.J., Keith, L.M., Nishijima, W. 2007. Evergreen Production of Southern Highbush Blueberries in Hawaii. Journal of American Pomological Society. 61(4):188-195.

Interpretive Summary: Six southern highbush-blueberry hybrid cultivars, Biloxi, Emerald, Jewel, Misty, Sapphire, and Sharpblue were planted in mid-April 2004 and evaluated for fruit and plant characteristics from Oct. 2004 through Oct. 2006, by the staff at the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS), and the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH-CTAHR) at the U.H. Mealani Agricultural Research Station in Waimea, a mid-elevation vegetable production area on the Island of Hawaii. The objective was to determine if these blueberries would produce yields suitable for market and when production would occur during the year. In addition, the study compared differences in plant growth and fruit quality. Each of the plants grew and produced reasonable yields of quality berries. 'Biloxi', 'Emerald', 'Sapphire', and 'Sharpblue' produced over 4 lb/plant/year during their second year after field establishment. Peak production times, when total berry harvest exceeded 8.8 lb/week for the 60 plant plot, occurred between mid-Aug. to mid-Sept., and for two weeks in mid-Feb.; individual cultivar harvest peaks occurred throughout the year. 'Jewel' plants were the most vigorous but had the lowest annual yield. 'Emerald' and 'Jewel' had larger berries exceeding 0.08 oz. Fruit from the cultivars of this study had similar sweetness content. The flavor of each of the berries was acceptable. Bird damage was prevented by enclosing the planting in net covered caging. Chinese rose beetle and thrips caused some foliar damage, but disease and pest problems were otherwise minimal. Hawaii has an environment suited to evergreen cultivation of southern highbush blueberries.

Technical Abstract: Six southern highbush-blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) hybrid cultivars, Biloxi, Emerald, Jewel, Misty, Sapphire, and Sharpblue were planted in mid-April 2004 and evaluated for fruit and plant characteristics from Oct. 2004 through Oct. 2006, by the staff at the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS), and the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH-CTAHR) at the U.H. Mealani Agricultural Research Station in Waimea, a mid-elevation vegetable production area on the Island of Hawaii. The objectives were to determine the production season and potential yields in this environment and to measure plant growth and fruit quality. Each of the plants grew and produced reasonable yields of quality berries. 'Biloxi', 'Emerald', 'Sapphire', and 'Sharpblue' produced between 1.7 to 1.87 kg/plant/year during their second year after field establishment. Peak production times, when total berry harvest exceeded 4 kg/week (8.8 lb/week) for the 60 plant plot, occurred between mid-Aug. to mid-Sept., and for two weeks in mid-Feb.; individual cultivar harvest peaks occurred throughout the year. 'Jewel' plants were the most vigorous but had the lowest annual yield. 'Emerald' and 'Jewel' had larger berries exceeding 2.5 g (0.08 oz). Fruit from each of the cultivars of this study had similar total soluble solids (TSS) and the berry flavor was acceptable. Bird damage was prevented by enclosing the planting in net covered caging. Chinese rose beetle (Adoretus sinicus Burmeister) and thrips (Heliothrips haeorrhoidalis) caused some foliar damage, but disease and pest problems were otherwise minimal. Hawaii has an environment suited to evergreen cultivation of southern highbush blueberries.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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