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Sharon Morrison, John M. Smagula and Walter Litten

For accelerating the filling in of bare areas in native lowbush blueberry fields or converting new areas to production, micropropagated plantlets rooted after three subcultures outperformed seedlings and rooted softwood cuttings. After 2 years of field growth, they averaged 20.3 rhizomes each of average dry weight 3.5 g, as compared with 5.7 rhizomes of average dry weight 1.1 g for rooted softwood cuttings. After 1 year of field growth, seedlings produced on average 3.3 vs. 0.4 rhizomes from micropropagated plants that had not been subcultured and 0.3 rhizomes from stem cuttings. Apparently, subculturing on cytokinin-rich media induces the juvenile branching characteristic that provides micropropagated plants with the desirable morphologies and growth habits of seedlings. These characteristics favor rhizome production while the benefits of asexual reproduction are retained. The advantage in rhizome production of micropropagation over stem cuttings varied among clones.