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  • Author or Editor: Stan C. Peters x
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Abstract

We studied the horizontal and vertical root distribution of 3-year-old ‘Climax’ rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) in a sandy loam soil. Root density decreased logarithmically in the horizontal direction from the crown and linearly with depth. Ninety percent of the roots were within 0 to 0.38 m from the crown and 0 to 0.45 m depth. Roots spread more within the rows than across rows. Sawdust mulch increased the radial spread of roots, but did not promote rooting in the top 0.15 m of soil. Compared to one or two drip emitters per plants, low-volume spray emitters increased radial spread of roots, but only in combination with mulching. Greatest vertical rooting occurred with a single emitter at the base of the plant without mulch. Emitters placed 0.46 m from the crown of the plant did not help the spread of roots towards these emitters.

Open Access

Abstract

‘Tifblue’ and ‘Delite’ rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) plants were grown for 4 years with or without mulch, with cultivated or sodded row middles, and under various irrigation treatments [one drip emitter at the base of the plant, two drip emitters 46 cm on either side of the plant, or a 40° or 360° low-volume spray emitter (LVSE) placed midway between plants]. Plant establishment and growth were optimal with 360° LVSE. Differences between irrigation treatments were minimized with mulch. Mulch increased growth of drip-irrigated but not of LVSE-irrigated plants and increased the yield of two-emitter and 360° LVSE-irrigated plants but not of one-emitter or 40° LVSE-irrigated plants. Treatment effects on growth were more apparent in the early establishment phase than in the 4th year of growth and with ‘Tifblue’ than ‘Delite’. Frost damage on ‘Delite’ was reduced by mulch. Vegetative bud development in the spring and fruit maturity were usually delayed on plants grown between sodded alleys or with mulch. Leaf drop in the fall was also delayed by mulch.

Open Access