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  • Author or Editor: James D. Spiers x
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Released in 2004 by the University of Georgia and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, `Vernon' is an early season rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade), having large fruit size, good yields and excellent plant vigor. `Vernon', tested as T-584, was selected in 1990 at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, Ga. from a cross of T-23 × T-260. `Vernon' fruit ripens early with the cultivar Climax in south Georgia, and few days before `Premier'; however, `Vernon' flowers 5 to 10 days after the standard cultivars. On average over a 6 year period, `Vernon' yielded 5.8 kg/plant per season, compared to 3.1 and 4.5 kg/plant for `Climax' and `Premier', respectively. Berry stem scar, color, firmness, and flavor of the new cultivar are good to excellent. Berry size of `Vernon' is considerably large, averaging 2.05 g/berry over 4 locations in 2003, compared to only an average weight of 1.56 g/berry for `Climax'. `Vernon' berries are firmer than `Premier'. Propagation of the new cultivar is easily accomplished from softwood cuttings. Chill hour requirement is estimated to be in the range of 500 to 550 hours (<7 °C). `Vernon' should be planted with other rabbiteye blueberry cultivars with a similar time of bloom to provide optimum pollination. Propagation rights are controlled by Georgia Seed Development Commission, 2420 S. Milledge Avenue, Athens, GA 30606 (for more information go to

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Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are not often thought of as citrus-producing states. However, citrus has been grown in the coastal regions of these states since the late 19th century. With a climate cool enough for a suitable amount of acid to remain in the fruit for optimum flavor and for adequate peel color development, the northern coastal fringe of the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana to northwestern Florida is particularly well suited for production of the satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marc.), one of the most cold-hardy commercial citrus species. There were once thousands of hectares of satsumas planted in this region. Although satsumas typically reach optimum eating quality before fall freezes along the Gulf Coast, periodic severe freezes, as well as the occasional hurricane, prevented a citrus industry of this magnitude from remaining viable. Though freeze injury remains the primary limiting factor for citrus production in this region, there is great local interest, and a small industry focused on local markets has endured. Satsuma remains the primary citrus grown along the Gulf Coast region, though sweet oranges account for a large portion of citrus sales in Louisiana. This paper reviews the history of satsumas on the Gulf Coast, covering past and present production, cultivation, freeze protection strategies, pest issues, and marketing.

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