(375) Highbush Blueberry Cultivar Evaluation in South Central Missouri Mineral Soil

in HortScience

Fourteen highbush blueberry cultivars are being evaluated in south central Missouri mineral soil. This soil is often not ideal for culture of highbush blueberry. The planting site was initially pH 6.3 with a 92% base saturation on the cation exchange capacity. Sulfur additions, and summer and fall cover cropping were done for 2 years prior to planting to lower soil pH (5.3) and increase organic matter content. Four replications of three plants were set in a randomized complete block in early Apr. 1998. Plant spacing is 1.2 × 3.0 m on bermed rows that are mulched with chipped hardwood. Acidified irrigation water is supplied through drip lines. Fertilizer is applied annually both as dry ammonium sulfate and soluble nitrogen through drip lines at 84 kg·ha-1 N. Cumulative yield per bush after the first five harvest seasons showed `Bluecrop', `Brigitta Blue', `Chandler', `Darrow', `Legacy', `Nelson', and `Reka' at 17 to 21 kg; `Duke', `Nui', `Ozarkblue', and `Sierra' at 14 to 15 kg; and `Collins', `Summit', and `Toro' at 9 to 10 kg. Berry weight averaged 2 g with a low of 1.4 g (`Reka') to a high of 3.3 g (`Chandler'). Plant height averaged 155 cm with a low of 117 cm (`Nui') to a high of 188 cm (`Legacy', `Nelson'). Cultivars in the two higher yield groups were recommended to Missouri growers for planting.

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