Pollination Requirements of Three Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) Cultivars

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Author:
Kenna E. MacKenzieDepartment of Entomology, Comstock Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-0999

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The effects of pollination treatments on fruit set and five berry characteristics [mass, diameter, number of apparently viable seeds (well-developed, plump with dark seed coat), total seed number (includes apparently viable and partially developed seeds), and harvest date] were examined on three highbush blueberry cultivars. Pollination treatments included unpollinated, open pollinated, emasculated, and three hand pollinations that used pollen from the same flower, from the same cultivar, or from a different cultivar. Berries matured earliest and were smallest with the most apparently viable seeds in `Northland', `Patriot' had the greatest fruit set and smallest seed number, and `Bluecrop' matured the latest. Fruit set was greater, berry size larger, seed number smaller, and maturation later in 1990 than 1991. For all three cultivars, berries were generally smallest, latest maturing, and had the fewest seeds when pollination was prevented and were largest with the most seeds and earliest maturing in open visitation. Emasculation resulted in berries similar to those from unpollinated flowers. For berry characteristics, cross-pollination was of benefit for `Patriot' and possibly `Northland' but not `Bluecrop'. Thus, commercial highbush blueberry planting designs must be based on the pollination requirements of the particular cultivar. `Northland' berries almost always had seeds, while `Patriot' showed high levels and `Bluecrop' low levels of parthenocarpy.

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