Substrate Temperatures Influence Root and Shoot Growth of Southern Highbush and Rabbiteye Blueberries

in HortScience
James M. SpiersU.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, MS 39470

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A greenhouse study was conducted to evaluate the influence of substrate temperatures (16, 27, and 38C) on root and shoot growth of six blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) clones (three clones each of two types). Between types, southern highbush (primarily V. corymbosum L.) produced more roots and total growth than rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade). Comparing clones, `Gulfcoast' (southern highbush) was the most vigorous and `Tifblue' (rabbiteye) the least vigorous. Each clone had a negative linear response to substrate temperatures in all growth characteristics. Root and shoot growth was best at 16C. This study indicates that both rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries would respond favorably to cultural practices that lower soil temperatures during the summer growing season.

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