Flower Position, Growth Regulators, and Fruit Set of Rabbiteye Blueberries

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Frederick S. DaviesDepartment of Fruit Crops, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

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Seasonal patterns of fruit drop and the influence of flower position and bloom date on fruit set were studied for ‘Woodard’, ‘Bluegem’, and ‘Tifblue’ rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei Reade). The pattern of fruit drop was similar for the 3 cultivars, with most the drop occurring within 3 to 4 weeks of full bloom. Fruit drop was most severe for ‘Tifblue’, which set only 21% to 27% of its flowers, compared with 46% to 60% for ‘Woodard’ and 53.5% to 55% for ‘Bluegem’. Position of flowering shoots in the bush and time of flower opening had no consistent effect on the percentage set, although flowers in a terminal position on the shoot generally set a higher percentage of fruit than those in a lateral position for ‘Woodard’. Spray application of gibberellic acid (GA) or (2,4-dichlorophenoxy)-acetic acid (2,4–D) at various times during bloom did not affect yields. The percentage of fruit set was poorly correlated with yields within a season for ‘Woodard’ and ‘Bluegem’, indicating that flower number is also an important determinant of yields. However, poor fruit set for ‘Tifblue’ was associated with low yields.

Contributor Notes

Received for publication 13 June 1985. Univ. of Florida Journal Series No. 6495. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper therefore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.

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