Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2002
Publication Date: 7/1/2002
Citation: Nesmith, S.D., Draper, A.D., Spiers, J.M. 2002. 'Alapaha': Rabbiteye Blueberry. HortScience. 37(4):714-715.
Interpretive Summary: A new rabbiteye blueberry cultivar 'Alapaha' was jointly released by the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Services and the USDA Small Fruit Research Station. 'Alapaha' ripens as early as 'Climax', the major early-ripeneing rabbiteye blueberry but blooms at least a week later than 'Climax'. This late blooming affords a weeks protection from freeze damage during bloom and a lucrative market window for early rabbiteye blueberry fruit. This information should be useful to growers and extension agents.
Technical Abstract: 'Alapaha' is a rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) jointly released by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station, and the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Names after the Alapaha River in south Georgia, 'Alapaha''s was selected from a cross of T-65 X 'Brightwell' and was tested as T-256. Its primary attribute is that it ripens early in the rabbiteye season along with 'Climax', yet blooms at least a week later that the standard cultivar in south Georgia. The later blooming characteristic is of paramount significance since 'Climax' has been subject to moderate to severe freeze damage during bloom for at least 4 of the last 10 years. 'Alapaha' plants are vigorous and upright, with quite narrow crowns, and its chilling requirement is estimated to be 450 to 500 h. 'Alapaha' has better leafing than 'Climax', even following mild winters. The new cultivar easily produces sufficient stems to renew the plant; but, is somewhat susceptible to twig die back. Fruit are medium size, having excellent firmness, color, flavor and small dry scars which contribute to good shelf life. The cultivar should be suitable for mechanical harvesting. 'Alapaha' should be planted with other rabbiteye blueberry cultivars with similar time of bloom. Propagation is easily accomplishment from softwood cuttings.