Blueberry Production in Arkansas
Cultivated blueberry production in the United States consists predominantly of:
northern highbush blueberry (or standard highbush) with major areas of production in the upper South, Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest
southern highbush blueberry is a relatively new type of blueberry and is a hybrid of the northern highbush and one or more native southern blueberry species.
In Arkansas, northern highbush blueberries are grown in the northern counties, and rabbiteyes are grown in more central and southern areas.
Southern highbush evaluations and limited commercial production have begun in the traditional rabbiteye areas of Arkansas, and two southern highbush cultivars have been introduced.
A fundamental need in blueberry production is an acid soil, with a pH of 4.8 to 5.4 preferable in Arkansas, and a soil that is of a light texture. Sandy loam is preferred but not an absolute requirement. A recommended practice is the addition of peat moss at a rate of one to two gallons per plant to the planting hole at planting, along with mulching with an organic material such as pine straw, sawdust or wood chips. A mixture of sawdust and wood chips is preferable.
Irrigation is a must for plant survival and productivity.
Blueberries usually fruit the third season after planting. Flower buds will develop on second-year plants, but it is best to remove these to encourage plant growth in the second season. Pest control on blueberries is minimal, and routine fungicide and insecticide applications are not commonly needed. Bird control is the major issue, particularly on small plantings. Netting or scaring devices are two options to consider.
Which blueberry type or variety to plant is a fundamental issue. This is largely dictated by location, with northern highbush adapted to the upper South and northward, rabbiteyes from the mid-South and southward and southern highbush from the upper South and southward.
The patent has expired for University of Arkansas cultivar 'Ozarkblue' but stock may
available from other licensed fruit propagators.
|FSA-6104||Blueberry Production in the Home Garden|
|Home Garden Blueberry Production website
Cooperative Extension Service | Division of Agriculture |
University of Arkansas System
|PALS Highbush Blueberry Production Guide (formerly NRAES)
Publication Number: NRAES-55
Length: 200 pages; Features: 168 color photos, 24 figures, 27 tables
Authors: 29 researchers, extension workers, and growers from 17 states
Download a low-resolution, fair-use copy of NRAES-55 (23.0 MB)