Each year when my twenty 10-year-old blueberry bushes (Chandler, Toro, Duke, Brigitta) would fruit I would be disappointed in their tartness. Way more tart than store-bought (which probably are Southern grown) and when allowed to hang till ready to fall off, they were still too tart to love.
It must have been somewhere on this site that I read that major pruning was the way to increase sweetness. I wasn’t sure.
This winter I severely pruned each 4’ bush to only 4 main scaffolds. In the past I had selective pruned older branches, but over 10 years time most bushes had crept up to 7-8 branches. So this 4-branch pruning was pretty drastic.
While it makes sense that all that fruiting energy going into fewer berries would make them larger (turning Chandlers into monsters), I hadn’t realized that severe pruning would make them sweeter, too. It worked! With a brix of 16, they now taste sweet to me.
Grown under netting with weed cloth. Mild maritime climate. They get no watering.
BlueBerry: Thanks for varieties. I don’t think I have the heat units here for Rabbiteye. However I did pick up a Pink Lemonade at a nursery markdown table. The one berry I stole from the bush was incredibly sweet and cinched the purchase. It’s a Rabbiteye.
Anyone in the maritime NW successful with other Rabbiteye varieties, e.g. Powder Blue or Ochlockonee? I think I’ll need another Rabbiteye for pollination and a Highbush will not do.
Their are a few plants with mixed genes. Pink Lemonade is one. It’s not completely rabbiteye. It is half high bush mostly southern. Another is Legacy. But it’s a southern/northern mix. You do need a rabbiteye according to the breeders.
Pollination isn’t the only problem. It’s early bud formation that can expose growing buds to severe temps. So in colder places, fruiting is typically erratic.
The breeders suggest a rabbiteye although mention that Florida Rose may be a good choice. As it is pink too. Although it ripens in Florida may 25th. Wow that is early! Not a good choice. You need a late blooming rabbiteye.
That too bad. Just Saturday I had a couple friends over and gave them blueberries. One guy doesn’t like blueberries and said, well I guess I never had homegrown, he wanted some. Mine this year are really good, best year ever. It’s cool to surprise people with how good they can be.