Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/2/2004
Publication Date: 12/10/2004
Citation: Nesmith, S.D., Draper, A.D., Spiers, J.M. 2004. 'Palmetto': Southern Highbush Blueberry. HortScience. 39(7):1774-1775.
Interpretive Summary: The USDA-ARS, the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Science and The Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations announce the naming and release of the southern highbush blueberry 'Palmetto'. It is recommended for growers desiring an early season southern highbush blueberry ripening in the same season. Fruit quality characteristics such as berry stem scar, firmness, and flavor of the new cultivar are excellent. 'Palmetto' yields have been good over a 5 year test period. Plants are self-fertile to a degree, but should be planted with other southern highbush blueberry cultivars with similar bloom times to provide optimum pollination.
Technical Abstract: Released in 2003 by the University of Georgia and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 'Palmetto' is an early season southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium sp.), having favorable fruit attributes, concentrated ripening, good yields and excellent plant vigor. 'Palmetto', tested as TH-471, was selected in 1985 at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, Ga. from a cross of US-158 X TH-157. The hybrid is mostly V. corymbosum, but it also has V. darrowi and V. australe germplasm in its pedigree. 'Palmetto' fruit ripens early with the cultivar Star in south Georgia, and 8 days before 'Georgiagem'. On average over a 6 year period, 'Palmetto' ripened more than 75% of its fruit in the first two weeks of May in south Georgia. Berry stem scar, firmness,and flavor of the new cultivar are excellent, and berry size and color are medium. 'Palmetto' plants are vigorous, with an open, spreading bush habit and narrow crowns. The cultivar blooms in early March in south Georgia and will likely benefit from frost protection (similar to 'Star'). Over a 5 year test period, 'Palmetto' yield exceeded 'Georgiagem' by more than 100% Propagation of the new cultivar is easily accomplished from softwood cuttings. Chill hour requirements should be similar to that of other early season southern highbush sucha s 'Star' and'O'Neal', in the range of 350 to 450 hours. Plants are self-fertile to a degree, but should be planted with other southern highbush blueberry cultivars with a similar time of bloom to provide optium pollination. Propagation rights are controlled by Georgia Seed Development Commission, 2420 S. Milledge Avenue, Atherns, Ga. 30606.