Berries Production Guide

Blueberries
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Varieties

This section was updated - 30 May 2017

The following information is intended to assist in the selection of varieties. It is gathered from a number of sources including local trials and the experience of local growers. Consider information from other sources when deciding the varieties to plant. Also discuss the varieties with the intended fruit buyer. Only buy nursery plants that have been grown according to an accepted propagation protocol which includes isolation, aphid management and testing for scorch, shock and other viruses. The following varieties are listed in approximate order of ripening. Varieties marked with * can be machine harvested.

Varieties highlighted in blue colour link to a reference sheet that provides more specific information about that variety.

Varieties for South Coastal BC

Earliblue*

Early. Fresh market. Bush: Upright, moderately vigorous, easy to grow. Moderate producer. Avoid poorly drained soil and frost pockets. Potential for machine-harvesting. Fruit: Medium large, light blue, medium scar and on loose clusters. Resistant to cracking. Good flavour and quality. Ships well.

Duke*

Early. Processing and fresh market. Bush: Upright stocky and open. Performs poorly in wet or heavy soils. Prune heavily to encourage new growth and maintain fruit size. Blooms late, produces early and consistently. Heavy producer. Harvested in two picks. Fruit: Large-size, light blue, firm and with a small scar. Flavour is maintained in cold storage. Excellent for IQF (individual quick freeze) and fresh shipping.

Reka*

Early. Processing. Bush: Upright, very vigorous, heavy production beginning in the first few years after planting, machine harvests well. Grows well on a wide range of soils. Fruit: Medium size, medium blue, firm and with a small scar. Produced on loose clusters. May have “red back” if not fully ripe.

Spartan*

Early. Fresh market. Bush: Upright, open bush with moderate vigour and production. Blooms late and ripens early. Harvest in two main picks. Fruit: Very large, light blue, firm, medium scar. Excellent fresh quality and flavour.

Northland*

Early-midseason. Processing market. Bush: Vigorous, medium height, spreading at the base. Requires annual heavy pruning at crown to machine harvest. Consistently very productive. Fruit: Medium size, medium blue, medium firm, small to medium scar. Good sweet flavour with high brix.

1613-A (Hardyblue)*

Midseason. Processing market. Bush: Open, upright bush of good vigour. Quick to establish. Consistent good producer. Machine harvests in two picks. Fruit: Medium size, medium firm, light blue, and produced in open clusters. Fruit tends to shrivel on the bush when fully ripened. Very sweet with high brix.

Draper*

Mid-season, slightly earlier than Bluecrop. Processing and fresh market. Bush: Vigourous, compact. Young plants may sucker heavily and grow horizontally. Should be well adapted to machine harvesting, ripening is concentrated. Fruit: Large, light blue, small scar, very firm and crisp, excellent flavour, good shelf-life.

Bluecrop*

Midseason. Processing and fresh market. Bush: Vigorous, upright, consistently productive and easy to grow. Plant tends to over-produce unless carefully pruned each year. Harvest in three to four picks. Fruit: Large, light blue, small scar, firm. Good flavour. May be half-red if picked too early.

Chandler (Trial)

Mid-season-late. Fresh market - direct sales Bush: moderate vigour, slightly spreading habit. Prone to bacterial blight. May be difficult to pollinate and set fruit. Fruit: very large, medium firm, medium color, excellent flavour, fruit ripens over a very long season.

Rubel*

Late. Processing. Bush: Upright bush, medium vigour. Fruit: very small, even ripening, well adapted to machine harvesting, excellent flavour. Rubel was one of the first named blueberry varieties selected from the wild.

Liberty

Late, slightly earlier than Elliot. Processing and Fresh Market. Bush: Very vigorous, upright to slightly spreading. Should be trellised. Fruit: medium to large, slightly flat, medium blue, very firm, small scar, excellent flavour.

Elliott*

Very late. Fresh market. Bush: upright, vigourous, consistently productive. Fruit: Medium size, light blue, firm, small scar, slightly tart flavour. Fruit tends to shrivel if over mature. Good for CA storage.

Aurora

Very late. Fresh market. Bush: vigourous, slightly spreading, likely too late for most Fraser Valley locations. Potential for late season tunnel production. Fruit: medium, dark blue, firm, very small scar, slightly tart.

Cargo (Trial)

Last Call (Trial)

Top Shelf (Trial)

Calypso (Trial)

 

Varieties for Colder Growing Areas

Variety selection for areas with a shorter growing season or colder winter temperatures than south coastal BC is especially important. Snow cover can prevent winter injury in particularly cold areas. The following varieties are reputed to have greater cold hardiness in areas with the given annual minimum temperature range.
-30° to -34° C

Bluetta

Early. Bush: Small, low growing and spreading. Produces moderate yields. Mechanical harvest after the first pick. Fruit: Medium sized, blue-black, broad scar. Flavour and firmness is fair.

Patriot

Early. Bush: Small to medium, slow growing and productive. Branches are flexible and bend under heavy snow loads. More tolerant of heavy or wet soils. Blooms early and may be prone to late spring frosts. Fruit: Large, medium-blue, firm, small dry scar. Tends to be half-red if picked too early. Completely ripe fruit has good flavour and sweetness.

Northland

See above. Bush: Branches are flexible and bend under heavy snow loads. Adaptable to different soil types. Fruit: Short ripening period.

Blueray

Midseason. Bush: Upright, spreading and vigorous. Consistently productive but needs regular, severe pruning. Fruit: Large, dark blue, good flavour and firm.

Bluecrop

See previous. Plant in protected areas.

-34° to -40°C

Northblue

Midseason. Bush: Low, vigorous, with low to moderate yields. Fruit: Medium-sized, dark blue, firm and good flavour.

Northland

See above.

-40° to -43°C

Northsky

Bush: Low with dense branches. Fruit: Small to medium, sky blue, and stores well.

Northblue

See above.

Northcountry

Bush: Low with moderate vigour. Fruit: Medium-sized, sweet and mild flavour.