Effect of Bee Pollination and GA3 on Fruit Size and Maturity of Three Rabbiteye Blueberry Cultivars with Similar Fruit Densities

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Georgia Station, Griffin, GA 30223-1797
  • | 2 Department of Horticulture, The University of Georgia, Tifton Campus, P.O. Box 1209, Tifton, GA 31793

Plants of the rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) cultivars Brightwell, Climax, and Tifblue were subjected to pollination with bees or to applications of 250 mg·L-1 of gibberellic acid (GA3) to examine the influence on fruit size and maturation period. Plants were thinned to a similar fruit density (FD) 4 weeks after anthesis. `Tifblue' and `Climax' fruit were smaller on GA3-treated than on bee-pollinated plants, but no difference was observed for `Brightwell'. The fruit maturation period for `Climax' was not affected by treatments, but `Brightwell' and `Tifblue' fruit on pollinated plants ripened 2 weeks earlier than fruit on GA3-treated plants. These data suggest that excess fruit load is not the primary factor responsible for the smaller fruit size and lengthened fruit development period resulting from GA3 applications to rabbiteye blueberries.

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