Twenty blueberry (Vaccinium sp. L.) families were planted in Michigan and Oregon to determine variability among families, locations and the importance of family×location interaction. The families were generated at Michigan State University from crosses among parents with a diverse genetic background. Seedlings were planted in field locations in Corvallis, Ore., and East Lansing, Mich., in 1995 and managed following standard commercial blueberry production practices with no insecticide or fungicide applications. In 1998-2000 the plants were evaluated for survival, bloom date, ripening date, plant growth and the fruit were scored for crop load, color, picking scar, firmness and size. All traits, except fruit color, varied significantly between locations. Plants in Oregon had a 36% greater survival rate and grew to be much larger, 80% taller and 104% wider, than those in Michigan. Families in Oregon flowered earlier in the year than those in Michigan but ripened at a similar time. Between locations, family differences were only evident for survival and fruit color. In Oregon, there were differences among families for all traits whereas in Michigan only survival, ripening date, plant height and width, and picking scar differed significantly. The family × environment interaction was not significant for crop load, fruit color and fruit firmness, so individuals selected on the basis of crop load, fruit color and fruit firmness should perform similarly in either location. There was a significant family × environment interaction for the other traits including survival, bloom date, ripening date, ripening interval, plant height and width, and for picking scar. Therefore, there is a need for individual selection programs at each location. Genotypes well adapted to Michigan may also do well in Oregon, but numerous promising genotypes could be missed for Oregon, if families are first selected in Michigan. The loss of numerous individuals due to winter cold may have reduced levels of variability in Michigan.
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