Performance of five highbush blueberry cultivars (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) in the drylands of Cauquenes, Chile, during the first six fruiting seasons

Arturo Lavín A.1

At the Cauquenes Experiment Station (INIA), Lat. 35° 58' S Long. 72° 17' W, a plot with 'Berkeley', 'Herbert', 'Jersey', 'Earlyblue' and 'Coville' highbush blueberries was planted in 1982, at 3 x 1.5 m and drip irrigated. Recorded data demonstrated that the species grows well in the area, and that the flowering period occurs, for all the cultivars and seasons, between mid-September and Early-October with little variations among years. Fruit maturity occurred between November 28 and January 15 with little differences between years. 'Berkeley', 'Herbert' and 'Coville' were rather early-ripening cultivars with 'Earlyblue' and 'Jersey' being later. Yield increased from the second year of planting to levels of 2.2 to 4.3 kgjplant depending on the cultivar. Fruit size in all cultivars decreased, as the harvesting period progressed, within each cultivar. Post harvest evaluation demonstrated that losses in fruit weight, due to dehidration were different for each cultivar and that, afier 26 days in storage at 4 ± 2°C, fungal pathogens were observed with different degrees of intensity among tested cultivars. Nutritional levels were adecuate for N and K but not for P. Fungal pathogens in the plants were detected, being Phomopsis vaccinii the most important.

1 Subestaclón Experimental Cauquenes (INIA), Casilla 165. Cauquenes, Maule, Chile.