Impacts of Hurricane Damage on Southern Highbush Blueberries

Flooded blueberry container production after Hurricane Irma

Florida has been affected by eight hurricanes since 2000. This new 3-page publication discusses the types of hurricane damage that occur in blueberry production operations, the impacts of these damages, and some recommendations on best management practices in the aftermath of a storm. Written by Douglas A. Phillips, Jeffrey G. Williamson, and Philip F. Harmon and published by the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department.

Florida Blueberry Leaf Disease Guide

'Jewel' SHB

Southern highbush blueberry (SHB) cultivars are commercially grown throughout much of Florida, in both deciduous and evergreen production systems. In both systems, leaves can be damaged by many factors including environmental conditions, chemical applications, insects, and diseases. This new 12-page publication of the UF/IFAS Plant Pathology Department includes basic information to assist growers in determining 1) the likely cause (fungal, viral, algal, or bacterial) of leaf symptoms, 2) when specific leaf spots are likely to occur, 3) characteristic symptoms of common leaf problems, and 4) some of the management options that are available. Written by Douglas A. Phillips, Norma C. Flor, and Philip F. Harmon.

Botryosphaeria Stem Blight on Southern Highbush Blueberry in Florida

'Jewel' SHB

Botryosphaeria stem blight is the most common and damaging fungal vascular disease on southern highbush blueberry in the southern United States, causing stem and cane dieback and reductions in yield. Advanced stages of this disease may cause premature plant death, which results in significant replanting costs for growers. Biotic or abiotic stresses from a variety of sources can make plants more susceptible to infection by stem blight pathogens. This new 5-page publication is intended for Florida blueberry growers to use as a guide in the identification and management of Botryosphaeria stem blight on southern highbush blueberry. Written by Norma C. Flor, Douglas A. Phillips, and Philip F. Harmon and published by the UF/IFAS Plant Pathology Department.

Anthracnose on Southern Highbush Blueberry

Information contained in this 4-page publication is intended for Florida blueberry growers to use as a guide in the identification of anthracnose, a group of fungal pathogens that affects a wide range of plants, including southern highbush blueberries (SHB). Written by Douglas A. Phillips, Maria C. Velez-Climent, Philip F. Harmon, and Patricio R. Munoz and published by the UF/IFAS Plant Pathology Department, May 2018.

Establishment and Production Costs for Southern Highbush Blueberry Orchards in Florida: Enterprise Budget and Profitability Analysis

Blueberry field.

The United States is the world’s largest producer of blueberries. Florida’s blueberry production represents a small fraction of total US production, but blueberries are nevertheless an important and valuable crop in the state because Florida growers benefit from the nation’s earliest market window. In fact, the average price for blueberries received by growers in Florida during the last three years was 2.5 times the US average.

This 15-page fact sheet written by Ariel Singerman, Marina Burani-Arouca, Jeffrey G. Williamson, and Gary K. England, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics provides a summary of the enterprise budget developed for highbush blueberry production in Florida. The budget represents a typical operation and serves as an economic benchmark for growers, providing estimates of expenses and potential estimates of revenue and profit for a blueberry crop to help current and potential blueberry growers make informed decisions about blueberry production.

Improving the Precision of Blueberry Frost Protection Irrigation

Private blueberry farm in Alachua County, frozen, frost, crops.
In Florida, early-ripening southern highbush blueberry cultivars allow growers to take advantage of high prices in the early market before other states can compete with higher volumes of berries sold at lower prices. That advantage comes with a vulnerability, however, because frosts can reduce gains. Florida growers rely on strategies like cold protection irrigation to reduce their risk of loss due to cold damage. This 9-page article by Tatiana Borisova, Tori Bradley, Mercy Olmstead, and Jeffrey Williamson describes a UF/IFAS study comparing precision cold protection irrigation to uniform cold protection irrigation to estimate the potential savings in diesel costs and water withdrawal volumes associated with the two practices and help protect Florida’s valuable and vulnerable blueberry harvest. Published by the Food and Resource Economics Department in November 2015.

An Overview of US Blueberry Production, Trade, and Consumption, with Special Reference to Florida

blueberries on a bushThis 8-page fact sheet provides updated information about the recent trends in blueberry production, consumption, and trade for the US market. Current and future short-term trends are discussed. Price analysis at the wholesale level for selected markets on the US East Coast (New York City) and US West Coast (Los Angeles) are presented. Also, the national average retail prices for conventional and organic blueberries are presented. Written by Edward A. Evans and Fredy H. Ballen, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, October 2014.

Southern Highbush Blueberry Cultivars from the University of Florida

Figure 1. A flock of cedar waxwings feeding on southern highbush blueberries Credit: Jeff WilliamsonMany improved southern highbush cultivars have been developed by the University of Florida breeding program since the initial releases of ‘Sharpblue’, ‘Flordablue’, and ‘Avonblue’ in the mid-1970s. Today there are more blueberry cultivar choices available for Florida growers than ever before, but in every case, cultivar selection involves weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a cultivar relative to the grower’s needs. Unfortunately, there are no perfect cultivars suited for every location and management system. This 10-page fact sheet categorizes southern highbush cultivars into four groups: major cultivars, secondary cultivars, new options, and historical cultivars. Proper cultivar selection is critical to a successful blueberry enterprise, and growers should seek information from multiple sources, including their local county Extension office. Written by J.G. Williamson, J.W. Olmstead, G.K. England, and P.M. Lyrene, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, April 2014.

Protected Culture for Vegetable and Small Fruit Crops: Southern Highbush Blueberry Cultivars under High Tunnels

Figure 2b. Blueberry plants growing inside high tunnels  in early January in north-central Florida. High tunnels have been proposed as an alternative for freeze protection and to increase fruit earliness of southern highbush blueberry. But there is no information about the effect of this type of structure on southern highbush blueberry fruit earliness under subtropical Florida conditions. This 3-page fact sheet summarizes the results of 2-year study in a commercial southern highbush blueberry farm in North Central Florida to compare early fruit weight in high tunnels to that of open fields. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Bielinski M. Santos and Teresa P. Salame-Donoso, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, July 2013.

How to Calculate Fertigation Injection Rates for Commercial Blueberry Production (HS1197)

Figure 1.  For a 4-foot irrigated band within an 8-foot row spacing, the area that receives fertigation is half of the total, or "real estate," area. Thus, the actual band area of the farm equals 50% of the farm area. However, all IFAS-recommended fertilizer rates are given on a "real estate" acre basis. The amount of fertilizer to apply is calculated based on the entire area of the blueberry farm, regardless of the width of the band to which the fertilizer is applied. To increase nutrient and water use efficiencies and reduce nutrient leaching and environmental concerns, fertigation is recommended for commercial blueberry production. In fact, successful fertigation can enhance sustainability and maximize profitability for commercial blueberry enterprises. One of the key factors in fertigation is the correct calculation of fertilizer injection rate and time for the acreage. This publication helps blueberry growers correctly calculate fertigation injection rates and times and provides reference tables for checking injection rates and times needed for a variety of production scenarios. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Guodong Liu, Jeffrey Williamson, Gary England, and Alicia Whidden, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, March 2012.

Reproductive Growth and Development of Blueberry (HS976/HS220)

Figure 2. Bumble bees sonicate flowers and efficiently transfer pollen from one flower to another.This 7-page fact sheet discusses flower bud initiation and development, pollination and fruit set, fruit development and yeild, and the use of plant growth regulators. Written by J. G. Williamson, J. W. Olmstead, and P. M. Lyrene, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, February 2012.

Florida’s Commercial Blueberry Industry (HS742/AC031)

gure 1. Southern highbush blueberry planting with bark beds and drip and overhead irrigationThe Florida blueberry industry has grown rapidly because Florida growers can produce high-quality fruit when few fresh berries are available and berry prices are high. Although southern highbush blueberry acreage has expanded significantly in Florida, Georgia, California, and Mexico during the last several years, better cultivars and improved cultural practices have increased grower production efficiency during the last several years, with promising production trends for the future profitability. This 4-page fact sheet was written by J. G. Williamson, J. W. Olmstead, and P. M. Lyrene, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, February 2012.

Protecting Blueberries from Freezes in Florida (HS968/HS216)

ure 2a.  Blueberry flower buds protected by overhead irrigation during a severe freeze. Clear ice, as seen here, is usually an indication of adequate freeze protection.Blueberry growers: know when the conditions are right in commercial blueberry fields, during and after bloom, for freeze damage, as well as practices you can use to minimize it. This 7-page fact sheet was written by J.G. Williamson, P.M. Lyrene, and J.W. Olmstead, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, January 2012.

Blueberry Gardener’s Guide (CIR1192/MG359)

Figure 7. ‘Farthing’ blueberry.Home gardeners: Use this guide to successfully grow blueberries in Florida. This 8-page fact sheet was written by J.G. Williamson, P.M. Lyrene, and J.W. Olmstead, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, January 2012.