Pruning and pollination studies on southern highbush blueberries (V. corymbosum L. interspecific hybrids)

Muller, Jasper Lodewyk (2011-12)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Commercial production of the southern highbush blueberries (SHB) ‘Jewel’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Star’, ‘Snowchaser’ and ‘Bluecrisp’ started recently in the Western Cape. In South Africa, no research has been conducted on pruning and pollination of SHB, and various questions regarding these practices have arisen. Six experiments were conducted to evaluate the self-compatibility and the effect of cross-pollination on berry characteristics of ‘Star’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Bluecrisp’ and ‘Snowchaser’. The effect of cross-pollination on fruit set, berry weight, berry diameter and fruit development period is cultivar dependant. ‘Bluecrisp’ appears self-incompatible and ‘Misty’ or ‘Emerald’ can be recommended as cross-pollinators. ‘Snowchaser’ seems self-compatible and solid block plantings can be recommended. ‘Misty’ and ‘Emerald’ would be recommended as cross-pollinators for ‘Star’ and ‘Jewel’ respectively, even though these cultivars will set an adequate crop when self-pollinated. Although ‘Emerald’ seem self-compatible, the fruit set tends to vary greatly and cross-pollination with ‘Jewel’, ‘Misty’ and ‘Bluecrisp’ is recommended to obtain early maturing berries of the required size. Another season’s data is required before final conclusions can be drawn. In order to establish sustainable summer pruning strategies for South African growing conditions that will maximise yield and berry quality for SHB, two pruning trials were conducted. In the first trial, the severity of pruning of ‘Star’, ‘Emerald’ and ‘Jewel’ was evaluated. We established that summer pruning is a compromise between total yield and desired berry size. All the pruning treatments reduced total vegetative growth and shoot number, but increased individual shoot length. Summer pruning increased berry weight and diameter by reducing total yield, but also by developing better quality bearing wood. Vigorous laterals stimulated by pruning seize growth later thereby delaying reproductive bud initiation and harvest. An increase in the severity of pruning increased the level to which the plants responded. No pruning and ‘light pruning’ gave the highest yields, but one more season’s data will clarify whether successive light pruning is sustainable. “Standard pruning” resulted in a well-balanced plant with an intermediate yield and berry size. Heading of one-year-shoots as part of the pruning strategy is not recommended for any of the cultivars. “Severe pruning” will only be recommended for young, newly established plantings where vegetative growth is the main objective. A second trial was conducted to study the effect of time of summer pruning. At Teeland, delaying pruning resulted in a decrease in total new growth and shoot number thereby reducing yield. This was probably due to progressively more buds that became endodormant. For all three cultivars, pruning as soon as possible after harvest would therefore be recommended. At Lushof, the effect of time of summer pruning was not significant. This could be due to the fact that plants were younger and more vigorous or because the area is warmer and growth continued for longer. One more season’s data is needed before any final conclusions are drawn.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kommersiële verbouing van die “southern highbush” bloubessies (SHB) ‘Jewel’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Star’, ‘Snowchaser’ en ‘Bluecrisp’ is ’n nuwe ontwikkeling in die Wes-Kaap. In Suid-Afrika is nog geen navorsing oor die snoei en bestuiwing van SHB onderneem nie, en verskeie vrae het oor hierdie praktyke ontstaan. Ses eksperimente is gedoen om die self-verenigbaarheid, sowel as die effek van kruisbestuiwing op bessie-eienskappe van ‘Star’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Bluecrisp’ en ‘Snowchaser’ te evalueer. Die effek van kruisbestuiwing op vrugset, bessiegewig, bessiedeursnee en vrugontwikkelingsperiode is kultivar spesifiek. ‘Bluecrisp’ blyk self-onverenigbaar te wees en kruisbestuiwing met ‘Misty’ of ‘Emerald’ word aanbeveel. ‘Snowchaser’ blyk self-verenigbaar te wees en suiwer blok aanplantings kan dus aanbeveel word. ‘Misty’ en ‘Emerald’ word onderskeidelik as kruisbestuiwers vir ‘Star’ en ‘Jewel’ aanbeveel, alhoewel beide kultivars ‘n goeie oes sonder kruisbestuiwing kan lewer. Vir ‘Emerald sal kruisbestuiwing met ‘Jewel’, ‘Misty’ of ‘Bluecrisp’ aanbeveel word, indien vroeë, groot bessies belangrik is. ’n Tweede seisoen se data word benodig om bogenoemde te bevestig voor finale aanbevelings gemaak kan word. Twee snoeiproewe is uitgevoer om volhoubare somersnoei-strategieë te ontwikkel wat die opbrengs en kwaliteit van bessies onder Suid-Afrikaanse groeitoestande sal maksimeer. In die eerste snoeiproef is die intensiteit van snoeisnitte vir ‘Star’, ‘Emerald’ en ‘Jewel’ ondersoek. Daar is vasgestel dat totale opbrengs en bessiegrootte teen mekaar opgeweeg moet word wanneer strafheid van snoei ge-evalueer word. Somersnoei verminder totale vegetatiewe groei en aantal nuwe lote, maar vermeerder lootlengte en bessiegrootte. Somersnoei het ‘n toename in bessiegrootte tot gevolg deur dat die totale opbrengs verminder, maar ook deur die kwaliteit van draende lote te verbeter. Meer groeikragtige lote gestimuleer deur somersnoei, staak verlengingsgroei later in die seisoen wat dan lei tot later bloknopinisiasie en oes. Geen snoei, sowel as “ligte snoei” het gelei tot die grootste opbrengs na die afloop van een seisoen, maar nog ‘n seisoen se data word benodig om vas te stel of dit volhoubaar is. “Standaard snoei’” lei tot ‘n goed gebalanseerde plant met ‘n gemiddelde opbrengs en bessiegrootte. “Harde snoei” sal slegs aanbeveel word vir nuwe aanplantings waar vegetatiewe groei die hoof prioriteit is. Om die tydsbereking van somersnoei aan te spreek, is ‘n tweede snoeiproef uitgevoer. Op Teeland, het ‘n uitstel van somersnoei gelei tot ‘n afname in vegetatiewe groei en aantal lote en dit het dan gelei tot ‘n afname in opbrengs. Hierdie was moontlik die gevolg van meer knoppe wat mettertyd in endodormansie ingegaan het. Op Lushof het die tydsberekening van somersnoei geen betekenisvolle effek gehad nie. Dit kan moontlik toegeskryf word aan die jonger, groeikragtige plante, of aan die langer groeiseisoen weens die warmer klimaat in die area. Nog ‘n seisoen se data word egter benodig voor enige finale gevolgtrekkings gemaak kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/17837
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