Southern Highbush Blueberry Response to Mulch

in HortTechnology
Authors:
John R Clark Resident Director, Fruit Substation, Rt. 2, Clarksville, AR 72830.

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J.N. Moore Distinguished Professor. Department of Horticulture and Forestry, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.

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Blue Ridge, Cape Fear, Georgiagem, and O Neal southern highbush blueberry cultivars were grown for 5 years on a fine sandy loam soil in a comparison of plants either mulched with uncomposted pine sawdust and woodchips or nonmulched. Other cultural practices were identical and all plants received the same amount of trickle irrigation. A significant mulch × cultivar interaction for yield and mulch × plant age interactions for yield, individual berry weight, and plant volume were found. Cape Fear was the highest-yielding mulched cultivar, followed by Blueridge, Georgiagem, and O Neal. Mulched plants had higher yields and produced larger plants. Average individual berry weight was greater for mulched plants in the first year of harvest, but not different among treatments in other years. The data reveal that these southern highbush cultivars performed similar to northern highbush (Vaccinicum corymbosum L.) in their need for mulching for adequate production on upland soils.

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