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Journal of the American Pomological Society
(J Am Pom Soc)

American Pomological Society

Volume 61 Number 4 Article 29 Pages: 188-195
Year 2007 Month 10
Title: Evergreen Production of Southern Highbush Blueberries in Hawai'i
Authors: K. Hummer, F. Zee, A. Strauss, L. Keith and W. Nishijima
Blueberry is not commercially grown in Hawai’i, though it represents a potential high-value niche-market crop. Many localities with equivalent low chilling environments, such as southern California, Mexico, Spain and Portugal, have successfully begun growing blueberries, but little is known about the adaptability of this crop to Hawai’i. In mid-April 2004, blueberries were planted at the University of Hawai’i. Mealani Agricultural Research Station in Waimea, a mid-elevation vegetable production area on the Island of Hawai’i. Ten plants each of six southern highbush-blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) hybrid cultivars, ‘Biloxi’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Misty’, ‘Sapphire’, and ‘Sharpblue’ were planted in blocks and evaluated from Oct. 2004 through Oct. 2006. The objectives were to compare trends in the production season, potential yields, plant growth, and fruit quality of the cultivars. First production occurred within 6 months of planting. Each of the plants grew and produced reasonable yields of quality berries within two years. ‘Biloxi’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Sapphire’, and ‘Sharpblue’ produced between 1.70 to 1.87 kg/plant/year during their second year after field establishment. Peak production times, when total berry harvest exceeded 4 kg/week for the 60 plant plot, occurred between mid-Aug. to mid-Sept., and for two weeks in mid-Feb.; individual cultivar harvest peaks were spread throughout the year. ‘Jewel’ plants were very vigorous and had low annual yield. ‘Emerald’ had the largest average berry size, exceeding 4 g. Fruit from each of the cultivars of this study had similar total soluble solids and acceptable flavor. Bird damage was prevented by enclosing the planting in net-covered caging. Chinese rose beetle (Adoretus sinicus Burmeister) and thrips (Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis Bouché) caused some foliar damage, but disease and pest problems were otherwise minimal. Southern highbush blueberries are amenable for culture in Hawai’i.

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