Blueberries are a high value fruit crop and are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. In the last decade, Alabama’s blueberry farm gate value has increased by approximately 13 percent. Research currently being conducted could determine that Alabama blueberry growers have several more varieties to choose from.
Choosing a Cultivar
Choosing the right blueberry cultivar is extremely important to growing blueberries successfully. Proper cultivar selection is one of the first, and perhaps the most important, decisions a grower should make.The first things growers should consider when choosing a cultivar include
- the intended market and proper marketing strategy
- local climate
- season of ripening
- berry quality
- harvest method
These factors will allow growers to determine what cultivar has the desired vegetative, flowering, and fruiting characteristics they are looking for.
Thanks to the work of the University of Georgia blueberry breeding program, new blueberry varieties have been created to keep up with the commercial and home garden demands. Some of these varieties include Titan and Krewer, new large-fruited rabbiteye blueberry cultivars, and Pink Lemonade, which possess a unique pink fruit color and ripens late.
Alabama Extension and Auburn University researchers established a study in 2019 to test ten well-established and newly released rabbiteye blueberry varieties for production in Alabama. This research, done at the Chilton Research and Extension Center, will evaluate the plants productivity and fruit quality under central Alabama growing conditions. The varieties evaluated in the study include
- Pink Lemonade
Data on bloom period, cold hardiness, crop load, season of maturity, total yield, and fruit quality will be gathered over multiple growing seasons to establish cultivar growth, productivity, pest resistance, and overall adaptability to Alabama conditions.