FLOWER BUD HARDINESS OF SOUTHERN HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY CULTIVARS

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

The southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) `Blueridge', `Cape Fear', `Cooper', `Georgiagem', `Gulf Coast', and `O'Neal'; the rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade) `Climax'; and the highbush (V. corymbosum L.) `Bluecrop' were evaluated for ovary damage following exposure of flower buds to 0 to 30C in a programmable freezer in Dec. 1993 and Jan. and Feb. 1994. The plants sampled were growing at the Univ. of Arkansas Fruit Substation, Clarksville. Damage was based on oxidative browning of the ovaries following an incubation period after removal from the freezer. With the exception of `Climax', a minimum temperature of –15C was required before bud damage was sufficient enough to differentiate among cultivars. All southern highbush cultivars and `Bluecrop' had superior hardiness compared to `Climax' at –15C in December, –20C in January, and –15C in February. Maximum hardiness of all cultivars was found in January. The hardier southern highbush cultivars were `Cape Fear' and `Blue Ridge'. Less hardy cultivars were `Gulf Coast, `Cooper', `Georgiagem', and `O'Neal', although the date of sampling affected the ranking of these clones for hardiness, especially for the February sample date. `Bluecrop' was not consistently hardier than the hardier southern highbush cultivars, except at the February sample date.

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