Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2000
Publication Date: 12/1/2000
Citation: Spiers, J.M., Stringer, S.J., Noffsinger, S.L. 2000. Growth and spread of blueberry cultivars in a 15 year-old collection. Meeting Abstract.
Technical Abstract: Development of blueberry cultivars with reduced plant height and non-spreading, upright growth habit would be useful for lowering maintenance costs and improving ease of harvest. Twenty-one rabbiteye cultivars and six southern highbush cultivars and selections were planted in March 1985 at southern Mississippi. These cultivars and selections were planted with peat moss, mulched, and watered, but they were not pruned for fifteen years. Data were collected for plant height, bush spread within the row, and bush spread perpendicular to the row. Cultivars were also subjectively rated for upright vs. prostrate growth habit. Most cultivars attained a height greater than 2.25 m, which is less than ideal for hand and machine harvesting. MS75, MS81, 'Climax', 'Floridablue', 'Premier', and 'Sharpblue' maintained a bush spread of less than 0.40 m within and perpendicular to the row, which is better for both machine harvesting and for reducing the need to prune suckers. Implications for management and breeding will be discussed.