Submitted to: National Berry Fruit Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Potential and new blueberry cultivars are evaluated in regional trials to determine their usability in different environments of the southern United States. In 1997 we collected data on the new rabbiteye cultivar Austin and southern highbush cultivar Magnolia at Poplarville, Miss., and southern highbush cultivar Pearl River at Poplarville and Clarksville, Ark. Austin yielded more than 'Climax', the standard early ripening rabbiteye cultivar, and could serve as an early ripening pollenizer for 'Climax'. 'Magnolia' blooms later and ripens fruit earlier than 'Climax' to escape early spring frosts and take advantage of the high market price early in the harvest season. 'Pearl River' had the same advantages as 'Magnolia' at Poplarville but did not produce as well at Clarksville.
Technical Abstract: New rabbiteye cultivar Austin and southern highbush cultivars Magnolia and Pearl River were evaluated in Southern Regional Germplasm trials. Each cultivar was evaluated in Mississippi and 'Pearl River' was also evaluated in Arkansas. 'Austin' was comparable to 'Climax' in berry size, scar, color, firmness, and flavor. Bloom date and plant vigor were similar for the two cultivars but 'Austin' ripened about one week earlier and yielded more than 'Climax' even though its plant size was smaller. Ratings of berry size, scar, color, firmness, and flavor on 'Magnolia' were average or better and compared favorably with 'Climax' in most instances. Flowering date of 'Magnolia' was 10 days later than that of 'Climax', providing extra frost escape time, plus its fruit ripening date was 23 days earlier than 'climax' supplying a market window when fruit prices are high. Plant size and fruit yield were smaller for 'Magnolia' than for 'Climax'. Berry color was darker for 'Pearl River' than for 'Georgiagem'. 'Pearl River' bloomed later than ' Georgiagem' in Mississippi but not in Arkansas. Yield of 'Pearl River' was much higher in Mississippi than in Arkansas.