Blueberries. Jorges B. Retamales and James F. Hancock. 2012. CABI, Wallingford, Oxford, UK. 323 pages, $85.00, Softcover. ISBN-13: 978-18459-3826-0.
Blueberry production in the world has increased dramatically during the past 20 years. This expansion in production has been accompanied by the generation of a large amount of new research information related to the science and culture of blueberries. Although books have been written chronicling some of these findings, no recent publication has provided a comprehensive update on the current status of the industry and incorporation of new information related to blueberry science into a new, valuable resource. Blueberries is a publication that provides this much-needed update.
Blueberries is well written and easy to read. The information is segmented logically into nine chapters. The first chapter provides a much-needed update on the status of blueberry production throughout the world. This summary included locations where significant production is occurring, the extent of production, and the primary blueberry species responsible for this production. Chapter 2 first reviewed the taxonomy of the blueberry. Breeding efforts past and present were discussed next, followed by a description of characteristics for improvement that will be a focus in future breeding programs. The final portion of the chapter provided a rather inclusive list of the important blueberry cultivars organized primarily by the type of blueberry. Anatomy, growth, and development of roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and inflorescences were reviewed thoroughly in Chapter 3. The focus of Chapter 4 was a more generalized coverage of energy with the emphasis on production of carbohydrates and the partitioning of these resources among the various organs. Chapter 5 concentrated on mineral nutrition, factors that affect availability of nutrients, and methods to supply nutrients to satisfy crop demands. The primary area discussed in Chapter 6 was management practices, and the majority of these were devoted to mulching, irrigation, pruning, pollination, and harvest. Although spray application and the use of plant bioregulators (PBRs) have been mentioned in previous books and reviews, in Blueberries all of Chapter 7 was devoted to the subject. Current and potential uses of PBRs were reviewed and documented. The most relevant insects, diseases, and weeds that attack blueberries were covered in Chapter 8. The final chapter, Chapter 9, was devoted to pre- and postharvest management of fruit quality. Included are sections discussing factors that influence storage life, fruit quality of blueberries, and postharvest options.
Chapters do contain figures and tables to illustrate pertinent points being discussed in the text, but in keeping with many excellent references, emphasis was placed on the text. The book is meant to be an intensive overview of the important components of blueberry science and culture. The intended audience includes researchers and students in horticulture, but growers and individuals interested in gaining a deep understanding of blueberry culture would benefit a great deal. Blueberries is such a well-written, comprehensive, and potentially useful book. It is the impression of this reviewer that it should be on the shelves of all individuals seriously interested in gaining a comprehensive understanding of blueberry culture and management.