Hydrogel as a Field Medium Amendment for Blueberry Plants

in HortScience
Authors:
Max E. AustinUniversity of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, GA 31793-0748

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K. BondariUniversity of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, GA 31793-0748

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Three field experiments were conducted to determine short- and long-term effects of hydrogel mixed with peatmoss, milled pine bark, or soil on growth and yield of blueberry. Rabbiteye blueberry cultivars (Vaccinium ashei Reade) Delite, Tifblue, and Climax, and southern highbush cultivar (V. corymbosum L.) Georgiagem were used as test plants. Hydrogel mixed with soil was detrimental to plant survival. Hydrogel with or without peatmoss or pine bark did not influence yield or berry weight of 3- to 4-year-old `Delite' and 2- to 3-year-old `Tifblue' plants. The southern highbush, `Georgiagem', grown in peatmoss + hydrogel, produced plants of larger volume than those grown in peatmoss alone. Yield or berry weight was not affected significantly by soil amendments. Genetic differences between cultivars affected growth, yield, and berry weight, but the cultivar x soil treatment interaction was not significant.

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