Long-term Effects of Propagation by Tissue Culture or Softwood Single-node Cuttings on Growth Habit, Yield, and Berry Weight of `Northblue' Blueberry

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108 and North Central Experiment Station, University of Minnesota, Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Plants of `Northblue' blueberry, propagated in tissue culture (TC) or from softwood, single-node cuttings (ST), were evaluated in field plantings established in 1984 at Becker and Grand Rapids, in central and northern Minnesota, respectively. Plantings were observed from 1987 through 1994 to determine the persistence of such effects as increased vigor, more spreading growth habit, and higher yield observed for TC plants during the initial 3 years after planting. TC plants had significantly higher yields at Grand Rapids in 1989 and 1994. At Grand Rapids, the consistently greater plant spread (bearing area) of TC plants resulted in higher yields of TC plants over all years combined. At Becker, TC and ST plants did not differ for plant height or spread after 10 years and, in 2 of 5 years, ST plants had heavier average berry weights. At Grand Rapids, TC plants did not differ consistently in height, or subjective ratings of the amount of bloom or crop. The effects of propagation method on yield and growth habit of `Northblue' are limited to early years in warmer locations, but can be of longer-term significance in colder areas with shorter growing seasons and lower winter temperatures, where plant spread is a more important factor than plant height in determining yield.

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