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Mark K. Ehlenfeldt, Lisa J. Rowland, Elizabeth L. Ogden and Bryan T. Vinyard

), moderate vigor, and a nonsuckering growth habit. Its fruit are small, aromatic, not objectionably seedy, and can have very good quality. Vaccinium ashei is a hexaploid species traditionally grown commercially in southern areas with mild winters

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D. Scott NeSmith, Gerard Krewer and Orville M. Lindstrom

Plants of `Brightwell' and `Tifblue' rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) were subjected to 0, -1, -3, or -4.5 °C for 1 hour during flowering. After treatment, half of the plants were exposed to bees (Bombus sp.) only, and half were exposed to bees and received applications of GA3. Fruit set of both `Brightwell' and `Tifblue' pollinated by bees declined sharply after exposure to -1 °C for 1 hour, but there was no visible damage to corollas, styles, and ovaries. Fruit set of GA3-treated plants of both cultivars equaled that of control plants (plants having no cold exposure) at temperatures ≥+-3 °C. Both pollinated and GA3-treated plants had ≤2% fruit set after exposure of flowers to -4.5 °C. Both prefreeze and postfreeze applications of GA3 were beneficial for fruit set. Assessment of flower part damage at the different temperatures indicated corollas were most sensitive to freeze damage, followed by styles, and then ovaries. Results suggest fertilization and fruit set of pollinated rabbiteye blueberries can be greatly impaired by even mild freezes (-1 to -2 °C), whereas, appropriately timed applications of GA3 can result in little reduction in fruit set even after moderate freezes (-3 to -4 °C) of blueberries during bloom. Chemical name used: gibberellic acid (GA3).

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Myneni Aruna, Max E. Austin and Peggy Ozias-Akins

Cultivars of the economically important rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade) were differentiated at the DNA level using the technique of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA. Single decanucleotide primers of arbitrary sequence were used to amplify genomic DNA by the polymerase chain reaction. All cultivars tested exhibited a unique set of collective amplified fragments of distinct molecular weight. A blind fingerprinting experiment resulted in identification of unknown samples without ambiguity. We also clarified the genetic identity of two wild selections of rabbiteye blueberry, `Ethel' and `Satilla', which have been maintained as two different selections, hut are considered by some blueberry breeders to be of the same genetic constitution. The technique also verified the probable identity of two cultivars in a commercial blueberry field by comparing their amplified DNA patterns with those of standard cultivars. No variation was observed between the amplification profiles of `Brightwell' and its presumed sport. A cultivar key based on 11 markers amplified by four primers is presented.

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D. Scott NeSmith

Experiments were conducted during 1999 and 2000 at Griffin, Ga., with rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei Reade) to determine how the growth regulator CPPU affected fruit set, berry size, and yield. CPPU (applied at two different timings) was used alone, and in conjunction with GA3 on mature, field-grown `Tifblue' plants. A control treatment without either growth regulator was also included. The CPPU concentration used was 10 mg·L-1 (a single application per treatment), and the GA3 concentration used was 200 mg·L-1 (two applications per treatment). Results from both years showed a positive benefit of CPPU with respect to fruit set and berry size, especially in the absence of GA3. Depending on timing, berry number per plant was increased by more than 200% in 1999 using CPPU. Berry size increases of more than 30% occurred in 2000 when CPPU alone was applied at 17 d after flowering (DAF). CPPU did not increase berry size of GA3-treated plants in either year. Total yield per plant during 2000 was 5.0, 7.1, and 8.3 kg for control, CPPU applied 7 DAF, and CPPU applied 17 DAF treatments, respectively, without GA3. While CPPU did substantially increase fruit set, berry size, and yield of `Tifblue', there was a notable delay in fruit ripening. These results suggest that CPPU may be useful for increasing yield of rabbiteye blueberries under conditions of inadequate fruit set (such as occurs in much of the Southeast), but a delay in ripening will likely result. Chemical names used: N-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-N′-phenylurea (CPPU); gibberellic acid (GA3).

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Donna A. Marshall, James M. Spiers and Kenneth J. Curry

Marshall, D.A. Spiers, J.M. Braswell, J.H. 2006 Splitting severity among rabbiteye ( Vaccinium ashei Reade) blueberry varieties in Mississippi and Louisiana Intl. J. Fruit Sci. 6 77 81 Marshall, D

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E. Marroquin, J. L. Silva, J. O. Garner, J. B. Magee, J. Braswell and J. Spiers

Three varieties of rabbit eye (Vaccinium ashei) blueberries (`Climax',, `Premier', and `Tifblue') were harvested in Mississippi and two varieties of highbush (v. corymbosum blueberries (`BlueCrop' and `Jersey') were harvested in Michigan. Each variety was harvested at three different locations as replications. The berries were rapidly cooled to 5°C after harvest, placed in 1-pint containers, and analyzed at 7-day intervals for 28 days with day 0 being 48 h after harvest.

Shear, compression and puncture forces were higher for rabbiteye spp. than for highbush spp. `Bluecrop' blueberries showed the lowest shear force whereas, Climax, had the most shear force. Puncture force (skin toughness) was lower for `Bluecrop' and `Jersey' and higher for, Climax, There was an increase in shear force by all varieties with storage time. `Premier, and `Climax' had lower soluble solids, but they increased with storage time. `Jersey' had the highest pH and `Tifblue' the lowest. Although all varieties lost moisture with time, `Bluecrop' always had higher moisture. Mold growth varied with time; however, `Bluecrop' had a higher percentage of moldy berries throughout refrigeration. The percent decay was higher for highbush blueberries after 16 d of refrigeration. Rabbiteye's toughness and firmness give them a longer refrigerated shelf-life over highbush blueberries.

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Jose R. Cartagena, Frank B. Matta and James M. Spiers

The thinning potential of various chemicals sprayed on `Tifblue' rabbiteye blueberry was examined in the greenhouse in 1990 and under field conditions in 1991 and 1992. In the greenhouse, BA concentrations ranging from 25 to 500 mg·liter-1 and carbaryl concentrations ranging from 400 to 2100 mg·liter-1 reduced fruit set when treatments were applied 16 days after corolla drop (ACD). GA3 reduced fruit set only at 50 mg·liter-1 and NAA did not influence fruit set. In the field, BA at 75 mg·liter-1 and the combination of carbaryl at 400 mg·liter-1 and BA at 25 mg·liter-1 reduced fruit set in 1991 and 1992. Combinations of carbaryl and GA3 reduced fruit set, but the response depended on GA3 concentration and varied from year to year. GA3, NAA, and carbaryl also reduced fruit set, but the results were inconsistent. In 1991, greater thinning occurred when the treatments were sprayed 10 days ACD. BA at 25 mg·liter-1 increased fruit diameter at first harvest in 1991, and carbaryl at 400 mg·liter-1 increased fruit diameter in 1991 and 1992. Fruit diameter was increased in the presence and absence of thinning, depending on year and application time. Yield and return bloom were not influenced by any of the treatments. Chemical names used: 7 benzylamino purine (BA); gibberellic acid (GA3); 2-naphaleneacetic acid (NAA); 1-naphthyl N-methylcarbamate (carbaryl).

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Blair J. Sampson, Stephen J. Stringer and Donna A. Marshall

that might affect flower function and viability. One cultivar in particular, Vaccinium virgatum Aiton (syn. V. ashei Reade) ‘Premier’, often bears blooms that are to varying degrees deformed. These blooms could baffle some flower-visiting bees like

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Mark Ehlenfeldt and Lisa Rowland

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has generated V. ashei and V. constablaei derivatives to provide late-flowering, earlyripening rabbiteye germplasm for the southern U.S.; however, this germplasm has also performed well in New Jersey, and could potentially provide northern-adapted rabbiteye types. When combined, these germplasms complement each other in many respects. Crosses with varying percentages of V. constablaei germplasm ranging from 100% to 0%, in 25% increments, were evaluated for mid-winter cold-hardiness using a detached twig assay. Hybrids with 50% or more V. constablaei germplasm were hardy to –25° C or lower. Further backcrosses to V. ashei resulted in dramatic segregation for hardiness, but still yielded some progeny as hardy as typical northern highbush. Assays of rabbiteye cultivars have been recently completed to enhance the ability to generate cold-hardy hybrids. Recombination and selection have begun to yield hybrids improved for critical commercial characteristics, and further rapid progress is expected.

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M.K. Ehlenfeldt and M.R. Hall

T 286, a rabbiteye blueberry selection from a `Delite' × `Tifblue' cross, generally has been regarded as producing semi-seedless fruit. A comparison of nonpollinated flowers of T 286, `Delite', and `Tifblue' showed no differences in ovule count, and comparisons of ovules at 10, 20, and 40 days from manual cross-pollination showed no obvious evidence of embryo abortion. Manually cross-pollinated flowers contained 85, 60, and 38 seeds per fruit for `Delite', `Tifblue', and T 286, respectively. Open-pollinated fruit of T 286 had a seed count similar to that of open-pollinated `Tifblue' but possessed significantly heavier fruit. The number of seed in T 286 and `Tifblue' indicates a tendency toward parthenocarpy.