Blueberry plants have separate male and female flowers on the same bush, allowing you to cross-pollinate plants to produce more berries. The Northern Highbush Blueberry is a high-yielding, hardy berry plant that grows well in USDA zones 2 – 7. This blueberry plant is resistant to diseases and pests, and can be grown organically or with chemicals. It is known for its large size fruit and long harvest period.
The Northern Highbush Blueberry is self-pollinating, which means it doesn’t require another variety of blueberry plants to produce a crop. However, cross-pollination can increase yields by as much as 15% when two different varieties are planted near each other. . For example, if you wanted the best results from your cross-pollination efforts you would want to plant Kenova (female) and Bluecrop (male).
Cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen from one plant to another. When cross-pollination occurs, it can result in the development of a new variety that can be propagated by seed. This is called hybridization. When blueberries are crossed, you have to be very careful because they can cross-pollinate with each other and produce bad fruit. To avoid this from happening, plant blueberries at least 500 feet apart from each other.
When it comes to cross-pollinating the two species of blueberries, the northern highbush is one of the best choices. Northern highbush blueberries bloom later than rabbit eyes, which may be useful in frost-prone areas like the mountains. On the other hand, southern Georgia’s piedmont area is a hot and dry environment, and northern highbush does not perform well. For this reason, it is recommended to buy the appropriate variety for your region.
Planting three or more bushes with similar bloom times
Depending on your location, the Northern Highbush Blueberry is self-fertile. Its bloom times are similar to those of the Rabbiteye blueberry, but it is slightly later. These berries may work well on more freeze-prone sites, such as the mountains. However, they will not thrive in more southern locations, including piedmont areas with warm summer temperatures. Therefore, it is important to purchase the appropriate cultivar for your site.
There are numerous varieties of blueberry bushes, which range in size, ripening time, and other characteristics. The main advantages of growing them in your yard are great flavor and disease resistance, and they grow in approximate order. However, they do need to be pollinated in order to produce large berries later in the season. Pollinators are necessary for cross-pollination, so consider planting several cultivars for maximum harvest potential.
The Highbush Blueberry has been commercially bred for over a century. There are several types of this native species, but the rabbiteye is the best option for home gardens. The southern highbush is popular in southern Georgia, but requires more care and is susceptible to deer. The Northern Highbush Blueberry is suitable for areas of the mountains in North Georgia and coastal Flatwoods.
The Southern Highbush Blueberry is the earliest variety to bloom in North America. While southern highbush does not tolerate cold temperatures, it thrives in mild climates. It needs minimal chill hours to bud and bloom. Frosty weather can damage the flowers. Both varieties are self-fertile, but they are better cross-pollinated. If possible, plant three or more Northern Highbush Blueberry bushes with similar bloom times for maximum fruit production.
For optimal berry production, you should plant three or more Northern Highbush Blueberry shrubs with similar bloom times in the same location. The first year after planting is ideal for establishing a shrub. Once established, prune to remove low spreading branches and excessive twiggy growth. Then, mulch the new planting with four to six inches of well-rotted pine sawdust.
You can plant these plants in containers if you want to grow blueberries in containers. These can be placed on balconies or decks to provide good sun exposure. Northern Highbush Blueberry bushes need a large container. Half a wine barrel or a fifteen or twenty-gallon bucket will work. For smaller containers, half-high cultivars should be planted in 10-gallon containers or larger. Make sure to plant them in a container with drainage holes so that they do not become waterlogged.
Once you have determined the location, the next step is to choose the proper soil. If you want rich, fertile soil, you should choose the Southern Highbush and the Rabbiteye varieties. Unlike the Northern Highbush, the rabbiteye will grow best on acidic soils. In addition, they will produce berries that are smaller than the Rabbiteye.
Selecting a cultivar to cross-pollinate with
One of the most common cultivars of northern highbush blueberry is ‘Patriot’, which is self-fruitful and requires little or no pollination to bear fruit. However, there are some cultivars that require pollination from Northern highbush blueberries in order to be fruitful. Popular cultivars for cross-pollination include the early and mid-season ‘Northland’ and ‘friendship’. If you’d like to plant an heirloom cultivar, you’ll want to choose one that resists stem canker, a disease that can kill the Northern highbush.
Southern highbush blueberries are hybrids and are generally lower in chill requirements than Northern highbush blueberry. They also require minimal chill hours to bud and bloom and are best grown in areas with at least 160 days between frosts. They are self-fertile, although they do produce better yields when cross-pollinated with Northern highbush blueberry.
The key to cross-pollination with blueberries is to choose two species and subspecies of the same type. According to the Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont, the three species are highbush, lowbush, and rabbiteye. These three cultivars are hardy in USDA zones four to seven and are classified according to their bloom time. Highbush blueberries are also known as half-high varieties.
Depending on the cultivar, cross-pollination can occur two to three years after flowering. The harvest period of each cultivar will depend on the cultivar and weather conditions. One cultivar produces 8 to 10 pounds of ripe berries annually. Moreover, cultivated blueberries can last for 40 years. Hence, you’ll want to consider the soil quality before making your selection.
Some people may choose not to cross-pollinate the two cultivars. However, if you want to cross-pollinate with Northern Highbush Blueberry, you must consider the location of the plants. Northern Highbush Blueberry varieties are known to flower at the same time. They need to be planted close to each other for pollination to be successful.
Generally, the berries of the northern highbush blueberry begin to form at eight or ten years old. After harvest, you need to conduct renewal pruning to maintain bush vigor. Begin pruning at the age of six years old. Pruning stimulates the development of thicker, lateral branches. Older plants should be pruned immediately after harvest.
There are many varieties of blueberry. Several of them are self-fertile. However, some require cross-pollination to produce larger berries. You can also cross-pollinate these two varieties with other highbush cultivars to get more fruit from your plants. These plants are very productive and are hardy and winter-hardy.
The most commonly used cultivars for cross-pollination with Northern Highbush Blueberry are Suziblue, Premier, and Titan. These cultivars have a 500-hour chilling requirement and medium-sized fruit. These cultivars are vigorous growers. However, the fruit of Titan can split and crack under wet conditions.
Effects of harvest number on berry weight
The Mid-Atlantic Berry Guide recommends cultivars for growing highbush blueberries and recommends several varieties. In Pennsylvania, the highbush blueberry season lasts from late June to mid-September. Harvesting is best done when the fruit is ripe, but late-season low-bush supplies from Canada are available. Early-season marketing pressures have been exacerbated by increasing numbers of highbush varieties.
Results show that the number of harvests can have a profound impact on berry weight. The results of experiments conducted in 2013 and 2015 indicate that the number of berries harvested affects DRF, BW, and seed quality. The pollen source may have a profound effect on berry weight, but the pollen in highbush blueberries differs from other varieties. Therefore, the effects of harvest number on Northern Highbush Blueberry weight are likely to be similar.
The highbush blueberry plant is a woody shrub with canes that extend from its crown. They are shallow-rooted and require annual dormant pruning to control their weight and protect them from frost. It is best to prune the plant at the end of the dormant season to remove small, spindly branches and balance cane ages. Thinning the centermost canes will help the plant remain healthy and productive throughout the winter.
Compared to hand-harvesting, machine-harvesting caused the largest percentage of detached blueberries to sustain impact damage. The impact caused a high percentage of bruised surfaces on the fruits. Harvesting with a modified OTR machine led to larger bruises and softening fruit. Both methods had a minimal effect on bruise severity, but the MH blueberries suffered less bruise damage than the hand-harvest fruit.
In addition to the harvest number, growers should also consider the pH level of the soil. Soil pH should be between 4.0 and 5.2, which is ideal for the fruit. If the soil pH is too high, sulfur should be added to balance the pH. Organic matter content should be between three and 20 percent. In addition to organic matter, growers should add organic mulch and well-aged sawdust to the soil.
Although most buyers prefer large fruit, small fruits are still better for processing. In addition, berries in the U.S. Number 1 grade must weigh no more than 250. The full USDA classifications of blueberries can be found at 46 FR 63203. The U.S. Number 1 grade is one of the most commonly used and respected grades in the U.S. Market. In Maine, however, they are not available commercially.
Researchers have found that forced-air cooling is more efficient than cooling in still air, and the resulting fruits are more uniformly cooled. Forced-air cooling speeds up the cooling process so that blueberries can reach the desired storage temperature in a shorter time. Forced-air cooling speeds up the process and yields a higher-quality product for the consumer. The average cooling time for MH blueberries is less than three days, and the resulting berry yield is higher.