Journal Of Applied Horticulture ISSN: 0972-1045


B. Hoover, D. Fuglie and R. Miller

Department of Biology, Eastern Mennonite University, 1200 Park Road, Harrisonburg, VA-22802.

Key words: Soil, organic, sustainable, mulch, Duke, Bluecrop, Jersey, Chandler, Bluegold, Vaccinium corymbosum, Ericaceae

Journal of Applied Horticulture, 2014, volume 16, issue 1, pages 32-39.

Abstract: To ascertain optimal soil conditions for creating an organic and sustainable blueberry operation, 160 highbush blueberry plants representing five different cultivars (Duke, Bluecrop, Jersey, Chandler, and Bluegold) were planted at Knoll Acres Farm, Harrisonburg, Virginia in 2009 within four soil treatment plots (horse manure, sheep manure, pine straw, and Planters Choice mulches). To define optimal growth conditions, selected soil characteristics and plant vigor assessments including photosynthesis and respiration activities as well as plant growth measurements were recorded. Statistical analyses indicated that soil treatments of pine straw and Planters Choice mulches produced significantly higher plant growth values than horse and sheep manure mulches. Among the five cultivars, Chandler bushes thrived the best, based on growth parameters except for bush height. Including cost/benefit considerations, pine straw mulch was the most economical and effective treatment among four mulches tested.

Journal of Applied Horticulture