Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Highbush blueberry plants

There are three commercially important species of blueberries that are native to the Eastern United States:
1.“Highbush”
2.“Lowbush” and
3.“Rabbiteye”

Highbush blueberry is a native, upright, 6-12 feet tall, crown-forming shrub. The common name refers to the relatively tall stature of these plants. Twigs are yellow-green (reddish in winter) and covered with small wart-like dots. Leaves are deciduous, alternate, simple, elliptic or ovate, 1 to 3½ inches long and slightly waxy above with pubescence (hairs) at least on the veins beneath.

Highbush plants require fewer chilling hours to produce fruit and are well adapted to Florida and California’s moderate climate.

Blueberries grow best in a well-drained sandy loam, rich in organic matter. Clay soils can be made suitable for blueberries by adding organic matter (such as peat moss) and sand. In very poorly drained soils, blueberries may be planted in ridges 4 inches above the sur-rounding soil level.

Highbush blueberry has a root system devoid of root hairs, but the role of root hairs is often taken over by mycorrhizae. The extensive hyphae of these fungi in-crease the volume of soil that can be accessed by the plant and improve nutrient uptake. Moreover, ericoid mycorrhizal fungi protect roots against infection by pathogens, such as Phytophthora spp., increase the plants’ tolerance for stress-ful environmental conditions and influence plant growth and yield.

Highbush and lowbush species are the most common species grown for commercial production. Most fresh market blueberries are from highbush plants and most processed blueberries are from lowbush plants.

Highbush blueberry produces abundant fruit every year. Highbush blueberry is self-fertile, but cross-pollination increases fruit set and results in larger, earlier berries with more seeds

Highbush blueberries are eaten raw, smoke-dried, sun-dried, boiled, and baked in a wide variety of culinary settings. They have one of the highest concentrations of iron of the temperate fruits.
Highbush blueberry plants (Vaccinium corymbosum L.)
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