Cold Injury of Southern Blueberries as a Function of Germplasm and Season of Flower Bud Development

in HortScience
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  • 1 Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Overton, TX 75684
  • | 2 University of Arkansas Fruit Substation, Route 3, Clarksville, AR 72830

The relative tolerance of flower buds and flowers of southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) to cold damage was compared to rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei Reade) and highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). For similar stages of floral bud development, southern highbush and highbush cultivars had less winter freeze and spring frost damage than rabbiteye cultivars. Cold damage increased linearly with stage of flower bud development. Small fruit were more sensitive to frost damage than open flowers. Rabbiteye blueberry flower buds formed during the fall growth flush were more hardy than buds formed during the spring growth flush, regardless of cultivar or stage of development.