Blueberry Production in a High-density, Evergreen System

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  • 1 1Horticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611
  • 2 2Univ. of Florida, SWFREC, Immokalee, FL 33934.

Blueberry plants fertilized at 3-week intervals with nitrogen (N) throughout the year and protected from freezing temperatures avoid dormancy and produce an off-season “winter” crop. Southwestern Florida offers a climate where this production system can be implemented without undue fear of freezes. `Sharpblue', `Gulfcoast', and `Warmabe' southern highbush blueberry cultivars have been planted at high density (10,000 plants/ha) to determine the feasibility of successfully establishing an evergreen production system for blueberry. Three rates of N fertilization (84, 168, and 252 kg·ha–1) and the use of peat or municipal solid waste (MSW) compost as soil amendments are being evaluated in this study. Initial data on plant growth indicate that, during the first 9 months of the planting, 168 kg N/ha will produce plants similar in height, but with significantly less volume, to those receiving 252 kg N/ha. MSW compost appears to be a beneficial soil amendment for blueberry establishment despite an increase in soil pH associated with the compost amendment.

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