Performance of rabbiteye and highbush blueberry cult ivars as affected by mulching

The blueberry crop is currently expanding in Brazil, mainly because of its health benefits. Because of its cultivation is recent in the country it still needs studies to assess the best management, such as the most suitable mulching. In this way, the aim of this study was do evaluate the productive and vegetative behavior of rabbiteye (Climax, Delite and Powderblue) and highbush (Georgiagem, Misty and O'neal) blueberry cultivars as a function of two mulching. The experiment was performed in field conditions, at the company Frutplan Mudas Ltda, located in the city of Pelotas,RS, Brazil, from October 2010 to May 2013. It was studied six blueberry cultivars: Climax, Delite, Powderblue, Georgiagem, Misty e O'neal and two mulching: extruded polypropylene raffia, under the trade name Ground CoverTM and pine needles. The assessed parameters were average stalk diameter, average stalk number, plant height, production per plant, yield, average fruit weight, average fruit diameter and soluble sugars. It was concluded that Ground CoverTM increase the average stalk diameter, stalk number and plant height of all assessed cultivars, as well as the number of berries per tree and production of 'limax', 'Delite' e 'Powderblue'. Besides, regardless the mulching, rabbiteye cultivars are more productive than do highbush cultivars. Finally, the yield increase justifies the installation cost of the polypropylene Ground CoverTM, in the cultivars Climax, Delite and Powderblue.

Vaccinium ashei Reade; genotype; breeding; productivity

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