ESTABLISHMENT OF `GULFCOAST' SOUTHERN HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY

in HortScience
Author:
James M. SpiersUSDA-ARS, Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, Mississippi 39470

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In a 1989 field study, `Gulfcoast' southern highbush blueberry plants were subjected to irrigation [8 liters per week (low) and 30 liters per week (high)], mulching (none and 15 cm height), row height (level and raised 10-15 cm), and soil incorporated peat (none and 15 liters in each planting hole) treatments at establishment. Plants were grown on a well-drained fine sandy loam soil that contained < 1.0% organic matter. Plant volume was increased by either mulching, high irrigation, incorporated peat moss or level beds. Fruit yields were not significantly affected by irrigation levels but were highest with either mulching, level beds or incorporated peat moss. The bed height X mulching interaction indicated that mulching increased yield more with level beds than with raised beds. Plants grown with the combination of mulching, level beds, incorporated peat moss, and high irrigation levels yielded 1.1 kg per plant or approximately 10 times more than plants grown without mulch, with raised beds, without peat moss, and with the low rates of irrigation. Of the 4 establishment practices evaluated, mulching had the greatest influence on plant growth and fruiting.

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