Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 27, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: A field study was conducted to determine the effects of fertilizer and irrigation levels on established 'Tifblue' rabbiteye blueberry plants. When rabbiteye blueberries have been established for three years, they can be fertilized at higher than recommended rates without damage to the plants. However, fertilizer rates above 300 g/plant/year did not benefit 'Tifblue' plants at any time during the six years study. Irrigation increases fruit yields and plant growth but higher irrigation rates are more important to rabbiteye blueberries when they are young (less than six years in the filed) than when they are older (seven + years in the field). These findings should benefit extension specialist on recommendations for rabbiteye blueberry growers.
Technical Abstract: The effects of varying rates of a complete fertilizer and trickle irrigation on the growth and fruit yields of 'Tifblue' rabbiteye blueberries that had been established three years prior to treatment initiation were determined in a field study. Increased rates of irrigation resulted in increased plant growth and fruit yields. Younger plants (planted 5-6 yr) were more responsive to increasing irrigation rates than older (planted 7-9 yr) plants. Older plants had no significant differences in fruit yield and plant height due to irrigation rates above 6.6 liter/week. Plants established for 5-6 yr and fertilized with the lowest rate (150 g/plant) had lower plant growth and fruit yields. Older plants (established for 7-9 yr) did not respond to fertilization. In the study, rates of fertilization above 300 g/plant/year did not influence plant growth or fruit yields. Fertilization and irrigation responses were independent of each other.