Submitted to: Journal Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Early ripening blueberries allow Southern growers to economically produce fresh fruit that fits a market window which does not compete with the blueberry industry (growers) of the North and Northeast. Due to periods of warm weather in late winter, early ripening southern blueberries often flower early and are subjected to early spring freeze damage, a major problem in the Gulf States Region. In January, 1995, the USDA Small Fruit Research Station, located in Poplarville, Mississippi, released 'Jubilee', 'Magnolia', and 'Pearl River', three new blueberry cultivars which flower about two weeks later and still have ripe fruit earlier than the earliest ripening cultivars presently grown. These new cultivars will provide an additional two weeks of protection from freeze damage while still providing ripe fruit that fits the market window for Southern growers. This information should benefit growers in cultivar selection, research scientist by supplying new germplasm, and extension scientists in recommendations to the blueberry industry.
Technical Abstract: 'Jubilee', 'Magnolia', and 'Pearl River' are southern highbush blueberries released by the Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) breeding program at Poplarville, MS. These cultivars should be grown in the coastal plains of the southeastern United States and each should be interplanted with other southern highbush cultivars to facilitate fruit production. 'Jubilee', 'Magnolia', and 'Pearl River' bloom about 5 to 12 days after and have ripe fruit 5-14 before the earliest ripening rabbiteye cultivars, thus providing more protection from late- winter or early spring freeze damage while still providing early ripe fruit for Southern U. S. growers.