Cold sensitivity in southern highbush (vaccinium corymbosum l. interspecific hybrid) floral buds
Redpath, Lauren Elizabeth
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Blueberries are an important commercial crop in Georgia, averaging $ 16,750 ha-1 yr-1over the last 10 yrs. Hard winter freezes and spring frosts are detrimental to low chill blueberries [V. corymbosum (L.) and V. darrowiii (Camp.) hybrid complex] which flower and crop earlier than many rabbiteye [Vaccinium virgatum (Aiton) syn. ashei] and northern highbush cultivars (V. corybosum). Southern highbush blueberry (SHB) floral buds differentiate the preceding summer, developing into fall. Blueberries acclimate in late fall, becoming less susceptible to cold temperatures and freezes. Longer photoperiods and warmer temperatures signal deacclimation with buds losing their hardiness as internal organs develop towards budbreak. Cold hardiness of blueberry floral buds can be measured in several different methods with varying degrees of success. Cold hardiness is an important topic when considering diverse production climates that can have temperatures that exceed chill accumulation thresholds, stimulating growth, and where frost protection is necessary for economical survivability.