Submitted to: National Berry Fruit Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: In the South, rabbiteye blueberries are often mechanically pruned or hedged in the summer after harvest. This long-term field study determined the effects of pruning heights and dates on fruit yield of 'Tifblue' and 'Climax', two the most popular blueberries cultivars grown in the South. The study indicated that mechanical pruning reduces yields of both cultivars. However, when pruning is necessary to reduce plant height and allow the fruit to be harvested mechanically, 'Climax' plants can be pruned between 1 July and 15 Aug. to heights of 36 or 54 inches and between the first of July until mid-August with satisfactory results. 'Tifblue' plants need to be pruned during the middle of July and at 54 inches. These results should benefit growers and extension workers.
Technical Abstract: 'Climax' and 'Tifblue' rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei Reade) were pruned at various pruning heights and dates over a seven-year period. One year after treatment initiation, pruning height had no effect on the number of berries per floral bud, bud size, or berry size. Pruning 'Tifblue' after July 15 resulted in fewer berries per bud, and smaller berry and bud size. 'Climax' could be pruned two weeks later than 'Tifblue' without a reduction in berries per bud or fruit size. Averaged over the entire study, fruit yields of 'Climax' were not influenced by either pruning heights or dates whereas 'Tifblue' yields were lower when plants were initially pruned to a height of 90 cm or pruned after mid-July.