All Rabbiteye Blueberries are recommended for USDA hardiness zones 6a-9b
Mid Season Rabbiteye Blueberries
Robeson is a very robust and productive rabbiteye blueberry. Blueberries of Robeson are medium sized, very sweet with a hint a tartness, and come ripe in mid to late June in the southern states. Yields for a mature bush will range between 10-12# of berries. Prince will fully pollinate Robeson. Size of the mature bush is 6' tall and 3' wide, making Robeson a manageable size for a rabbiteye blueberry.
Prince is a lower growing and more manageable rabbiteye blueberry with high yields of early ripening blueberries. Berries are sweet with little to no tartness when fully ripened on the bush. Prince is the first of the rabbiteye cultivars to begin ripening, with harvest times between mid May to early June. This cultivar has a mature size of 6' tall and 3' wide, with yields ranging between 9-12# of medium sized berries.
Late Season Rabbiteye Blueberries
Columbus is a rabbiteye blueberry that has large berries which are very sweet. They also resist cracking during wet weather. Yield is between 9-11# of berries on a mature bush, which is very vigorous and grows to a height of 6-7' tall and 3-4' wide. Columbus was rated by many southern blueberry growers as having the best flavor (high sweetness with little acidity). In south Georgia, Columbus will ripen between late June through July; in Kentucky ripening will be between late July to August.
DeSoto is a shorter rabbiteye blueberry growing to around 5' tall and 4' wide. The berries are sweet, aromatic, and large providing a longer window of fresh berry picking. Yields have been measured at 10-12# per bush. DeSoto is also very late to bloom, so it works well in areas that have potential late frost issues. Compact and late, DeSoto is an excellent addition to the backyard growers blueberry patch, extending the season much later with high quality, sweet blueberries.
At planting, dig a hole 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide and mix 1
cubic foot of peat moss with top soil until the hole is filled 4 inches
from the top. Set the plant and cover the roots with the remaining soil
mix. In heavy soils, an equal amount of peat can be mixed with an equal
amount of soil. Set plants 5 feet apart with rows 10 feet apart. Apply 4
inches of pine straw mulch in a 2 feet wide band after planting, and
maintain a 4 inch depth and 4 feet band over the life of the planting.
Blueberry bushes have very shallow root systems and are very
sensitive to water fluctuations. They need at least 1 to 2 inches of
water per week. In dry seasons, supplemental watering is essential to
obtain good yields of high quality products. However, do not apply water
after early September unless soil is very dry.
Blueberry plants normally do not need to be pruned for the first
three years. Remove blossoms that appear in the year of planting and
second year after planting to stimulate vigorous growth.
During the fourth year, the dormant plants should be pruned in
mid-March. At this time, remove dead and weak branches and thin,
terminal wood with small buds. Prune interior crossing branches to admit
light to the center of the plant.
In subsequent years, thin out older branches to force new growth.
Tall-growing branches can be headed back and thin branches removed.
Flower buds of blueberry bush are produced on tips and down the second
year old shoots. Blueberry bushes tend to produce smaller berries when
they are over loaded with fruits. Hence, it is important not to have too
many flower buds.
Generous use of mulches like pine straw, sawdust, or peat moss will
help control weeds, conserve moisture, and keep roots cool. Increased
organic matter from decomposing mulch will help improve soil structure
and nutrient uptake of blueberry bush. Replenish mulch as needed to keep
the mulch depth at 2 to 4 inches.
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