Effect of Foliar Copper and/or Iron Application on Growth and Yield of Lowbush Blueberry

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  • 1 Univ. of Maine, Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Orono, ME 04469-5722
  • 2 Univ. of Maine, Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Orono, ME 04469-5722

In a commercial lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) field with low leaf Cu (<7 ppm) and Fe (<50 ppm) concentrations, nine 1.8 m × 15 m treatment plots were established in a randomized complete block design with 6 blocks. Copper Keylate® (Stoller Enterprises, Inc.) containing 5% Cu was used as a foliar spray in a volume of 626 L·ha-1. In a similar volume, the Stoller Enterprises Inc. product Fe Keylate®, containing 5% Fe (5% chelated Iron), was used to provide Fe. Ammonium sulfate (0.7%) was added to the solutions to enhance uptake. Treatment plots received either Cu Keylate® at 0.6 kg·ha-1 Cu or Fe Keylate® at 0.6 kg·ha-1 or a combination of both nutrients in one spray. Treatments included a 19 June prune - or crop-year application of Cu, Fe, or Cu + Fe, and a prune-year Cu + Fe June 7 and June 19. A plot receiving no treatment served as a control. Leaf Cu and Fe concentrations were raised to above satisfactory leaf concentrations (Cu >7 ppm, Fe >50 ppm) by their respective treatments. Concentrations were significantly higher for each element when they were applied together. Two applications were not better than only one. No carry-over effect was seen in the crop year. Crop-year applications of Cu and Fe were effective in raising their respective concentrations. Stem density, length, number of branches or branch length was not affected by treatments at the end of the prune year. Flower bud density and average number of flower buds per stem were not meaningfully affected by prune year Cu or Fe treatments. Berry yield was not influenced by any treatment suggesting that the Cu and Fe standards are too high.

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