Submitted to: Journal Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The southern highbush cultivars Jubilee, Magnolia and Pearl River were released in December, 1994, by the USDA-ARS from the breeding program at the Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, Mississippi. These new low- chilling cultivars bloom later and ripen earlier than Climax, one of the earliest ripening rabbiteye cultivars, giving them a week's protection from mfrost or freezes that often follow periods of warm weather in the late winter and early spring in this area. The objective of this study was to compare the new releases to the widely-grown rabbiteye cultivars Climax and Premier on the bases of several commonly used physical and chemical quality parameters. The results indicate that 'Jubilee' and 'Magnolia' compare acceptably with 'Climax' and 'Premier'. (The dark color and absence of surface "bloom" of 'Pearl River' may limit its acceptance as a commercial fresh-market blueberry.) The comparisons indicate that growers in the coastal plain area of the U. S. may take advantage of the late blooming- early ripening growth pattern of these southern highbush releases without compromise in berry quality as assessed by the parameters used in the study. The potential worth of the late-blooming habit of the new releases was demonstrated this year. Hard freezes in March, 1996, killed an estimated 70-80% of 'Premier' and 'Climax' blooms. Because the bloom development of 'Jubilee', 'Magnolia' and 'Pearl River' was a week later, they sustained little or no damage and produced a full crop.
Technical Abstract: The southern highbush (SH) cultivars 'Jubilee', 'Magnolia' and 'Pearl River' released in 1994 by the USDA were compared in 1995 with 'Premier' and 'Climax', two widely planted rabbiteye (V. ashei) cultivars, on the basis of flowering and harvest dates, yield, and physical and chemical quality parameters. The southern highbush cultivars flowered later and ripened at least one week before 'Climax', one of the earliest rabbiteyes. 'Jubilee', 'Pearl River' and 'Premier' berries were larger than those of 'Climax' and 'Magnolia'. 'Pearl River' berries had less waxy "bloom" and appeared almost black when fully ripe; they were lower in anthocyanins than the other cultivars. 'Premier' was lower in titratable acidity (TA) and higher in sugars than the southern highbush cultivars. Based on quality factors used in this study the SH cultivars compared acceptably with the rabbiteye cultivars. Hard freezes (-8.3 deg C) 11 and 12 Mar 96, killed an nestimated 70% and 80% of 'Premier' and 'Climax' blooms respectively. Because of their bloom stages, the three southern highbush cultivars suffered little damage and developed normally.