Blueberry acreage has increased substantially in the southeastern United States during the past 5 years and further expansion is expected for the foreseeable future (National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2007; Strik and Yarborough, 2005; Williamson and Lyrene 2004b). Many new southern highbush blueberry (SHB) plantings in the southeastern United States are grown in pine bark beds that are 15 to 20 cm deep and of varying widths rather than in the underlying soil (Williamson et al., 2006; Williamson and Lyrene, 2005). Pine bark culture provides an ideal substrate for blueberry roots (Clark and Moore, 1991; Lyrene, 1990) and this practice allows for commercial blueberry production in areas with native soils that are poorly suited for blueberry production. Moreover, containerized blueberry production using pine bark as the growing medium has increased in the southeastern United States during the past 10 years, particularly in areas where the climate allows for early production but soils are not suitable for blueberry (personal observation). Blueberry production in greenhouses, plastic tunnels, and other protective culture systems may have potential for earlier, or extended, fruit harvest seasons (Ciordia and Diaz, 2006; Heiberg and Lunde, 2006; Ozeki and Tamada, 2006; Pliszka, 1996). Containerized plants are well suited to such temporary systems. General guidelines for blueberry fertilization are available from most Land Grant Universities (Krewer and Nesmith, 2006; Pritts and Hancock, 1992; Williamson et al., 2006; Williamson and Lyrene, 2005); however, little information is available for fertilization requirements in pine bark or containerized production systems. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of fertilizer rate and composition on growth and yield of two SHB blueberry cultivars grown in a containerized pine bark production system.
Krewer, G. & Nesmith, D.S. 2006 Blueberry fertilization in soil The Southern Small Fruit Consortium. 29 June 2007 <www.smallfruits.org>.
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). U.S. Department of Agriculture. Noncitrus fruits and nuts preliminary summary, Jan 2007 Mar. 2007 <www.nass.usda.gov>.
Pritts, M.P. & Hancock, J.F. 1992 Highbush blueberry production guide. Pub. NRAES-55. Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service Cooperative Extension Service Ithaca, NY
Strik, B.C. & Yarborough, D. 2005 Blueberry production trends in North America, 1992 to 2003, and predictions for growth HortTechnology 15 391 398
Williamson, J.G., Krewer, G., Pavlis, G. & Mainland, C.M. 2006 Blueberry soil management, nutrition and irrigation 60 74 Eck P., Childers N.F. & Lyrene P.M. Blueberries: For growers, gardeners, promoters. Dr. Norman F. Childers Publications Gainesville, FL
Williamson, J.G. & Lyrene, P.M. 2004a Blueberry varieties for Florida University of Florida Gainesville, FL 29 June 2007 <http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu>.
Williamson, J.G. & Lyrene, P.M. 2005 Commercial blueberry production in Florida University of Florida Gainesville, FL 29 June 2007 <http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu>.