The relationship between moisture stress and mineral soil tolerance was studied by placing 10 blueberry (Vaccinium) clones in a Berryland sand soil high in organic matter (Berryland) and a Galestown sandy clay loam soil (Galestown) and subjecting them to one of two moisture regimes. The Berryland and Galestown soils represent an excellent blueberry soil and a mineral soil, respectively. A moderate degree of water stress influenced biomass partitioning in blueberries in a similar manner as stress induced by culture on mineral soil. Berryland control plants on Berryland partitioned more biomass into leaves and produced more dry matter and leaf area than plants on Galestown or those moisture stressed. Net assimilation rate and relative growth rate were not significantly different between soil or moisture treatments. The primary reason for the reduction in absolute growth rate due to soil type or moisture stress was a significantly lower leaf area duration on Galestown soil and in-moisture stressed plants. Clones differed in instantaneous transpiration, leaf conductance, and apparent photosynthesis and the ability to partition biomass into various plant parts. By selecting for increased leafiness, a high photosynthetic rate, and a more energy efficient root system, improvement in mineral soil tolerance should be possible.
Interspecific blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) progenies were examined to determine combining abilities and genetic variability for seedling root system size and shoot vigor and to establish whether a large root system is correlated with good growth when plants are grown on a mineral soil and exposed to a moderate soil water deficit. General combining ability (GCA) variance components for root system size and shoot vigor and specific combining ability variance components for shoot vigor were significant. US226, a tetraploid hybrid of V. myrtilloides Michaux × V. atrococcum Heller, had the highest GCA effect for root system size and the lowest GCA effect for shoot vigor. US75 (V. darrowi Camp × V. corymbosum L.) had the highest GCA effect for shoot vigor and was second in GCA effect for root system size. Comparison of the crosses containing G111 (V. corymbosum) with those containing G362 (V. corymbosum) indicates that selecting for the best V. corymbosum clone to start a breeding program seems as important as selecting the mineral soil-adapted parent. Root system ratings were highly correlated with total dry weight of field-grown plants (r = 0.89). The method used in this study to evaluate seedlings for root system size and shoot vigor could be used to eliminate the less vigorous plants from a population before field planting and to evaluate mineral soil adaptability.
Bulk A horizon samples of 4 soils, with or without the addition of peatmoss, and 5 blueberry crosses were used in a study of the adaptability of blueberries to upland soil conditions under 3 fertilization regimes and trickle irrigation in outdoor pots. Blueberry progenies ranged from essentially pure highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) to interspecific hybrids containing varying amounts of evergreen (V. darrowi Camp), lowbush (V. augustifolium Aiton), black highbush (V. atrococcum Heller), and rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade) blueberry germplasm. Blueberry growth, as measured by plant volume, initially was greatest on Manor clay loam, a Piedmont soil high in clay (30%), but by the 2nd growing season, growth was superior on Berryland soil. Various fertilizer sources affected small differences in growth. Generally those progenies that contained less highbush (V. corymbosum) parentage produced more vigorous growth. Depth of rooting and estimated root distribution were affected significantly by soil, but the addition of peatmoss had no consistent effect. Berryland sand and Manor loam soils, which represent extremes in clay content, both produced the deepest root systems. Fruiting and fruit characteristic data from the 2nd growing season indicated a significant effect of peatmoss on the Pope and Galestown soils, which resulted in lowered total fruit acidity. The Berryland soil produced fruit with the lowest total acidity. Blueberry plant growth over the first 2 seasons indicates that soil type can have pronounced effects on plant growth and rooting. These growth differences were due to soil characteristics other than particle size distribution, with fertilizer source having minimal effects on growth.
A range of soils, with or without the addition of peatmoss, and seedlings of blueberry progenies were used in an outdoor pot study to examine the adaptability of blueberries to upland soil conditions with controlled fertilizer additions and trickle irrigation. Blueberry progenies ranged from essentially pure highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) to interspecific hybrids containing varying amounts of evergreen (V. darrowi Camp), lowbush (V. angustifolium Aiton), black highbush (V. atrococcum Heller), and rabbiteye (V. ashei Reade) blueberry germplasm. The soils represented the 3 physiographic regions of the eastern United States with Berryland sand used as a comparative control. Leaf analysis for N, P, K, Ca, and Mg showed significant effects of soil, but no consistent effect of peatmoss addition or fertilizer source in the 2 years of the experiment. There were significant differences among progenies. Foliar Fe, B, Al, Zn, and Cu concentrations varied independent of soil material, progeny, or fertilizer source. Leaf Mn was significantly increased from solid 10N-4P-8K fertilizer and a significant soil by progeny interaction existed. Those progenies containing some V. angustifolium tended to have increased foliar Mn levels. The reduced vigor of the blueberry progenies grown on soils other than the Berryland sand was tentatively ascribed to induced nutrient imbalances, involving Ca, Fe, and Mn, possibly being governed by soil cation exchange capacity and organic matter reactivity.
a tolerance to upland soils ( Trehane, 2004 ). Ehlenfeldt and Ballington (2012) have indicated that it freely hybridizes with V. cylindraceum and V. padifolium . Darrow et al. (1944) determined a single specimen of V. arctostaphylos to be 4