Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 27, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Highbush blueberry is adapted to well-drained sandy soils with some organic matter, which are often unavailable in areas where blueberry production is desired. I tested the concept of using freely available by-products to produce artificial media for growing blueberries. In June, 1997, 1-year-old tissue cultured plants of 'Bluecrop' and 'Sierra' blueberry were planted into 15L plastic pots filled with soil or soilless medium in a total of 10 treatments. Soils used were Berryland sand (alone) and Manor clay loam (alone or amended with 25 or 50% compost mix 1); soilless media were coal ash amended with 25% municipal biosolid compost (B), 25% leaf compost (L), 25 or 50% compost mix 1 (B:L, 1:1), or 25 or 50% compost mix 2 (compost mix 1:acid peat moss, 1:1). pH of all mixes containing compost was adjusted to 4.5 with sulfur. In 1997, plants of both cultivars had more growth in Berryland sand than in any treatment except Manor clay loam and the least growth in Manor clay loam amended with compost mix 1 and in coal ash amended with unblended compost (B or L). At the end of 1998, the most vigorous plants were 90-100 cm tall. Plants produced more growth in Berryland sand and in coal ash amended with 25 or 50% of compost mix 1, followed by plants in coal ash amended with 50% compost mix 2 or 25% compost B; plants in Manor clay loam, whether or not amended with compost, had the least growth. In 1998, 95% of the plants flowered and most set fruit, but treatments did not have a significant effect. 'Sierra' plants produced more growth than those of 'Bluecrop' in all treatments.