|Authors: ||J.M. Smagula, I.W. Fastook|
|Keywords: ||lowbush blueberry planting, fertilization, plant cover|
Removal of large boulders in Maine wild blueberry fields to accommodate mechanical pruning and harvesting equipment leaves disturbed bare areas.
To determine the best way to introduce clonally propagated plant material into these bare areas, two-year-old tissue culture plants of a selected clone (‘Burgundy’) were planted into a disturbed area from which blueberry sod had been removed for sale as a ground cover to landscape businesses.
Treatment plots were 0.61×3.67 m with 0.30 m alley ways.
A RCB design with four blocks and six treatments was used.
Treatments included: (1) control (allowing rhizomes left behind to regenerate the blueberry cover); (2) yearly fertilization to encourage growth from existing rhizomes left behind; (3) planting of six ‘Burgundy’ plants into tilled ground without fertilization; (4) planting of six ‘Burgundy’ plants into untilled ground without fertilization; (5) planting of six ‘Burgundy’ plants into tilled ground with fertilization; and (6) planting of six ‘Burgundy’ plants into untilled ground with fertilization.
A slow release fertilizer (Osmocote 19N-2.2P-6.6K, 3 month formulation) was hand spread at the rate of 112 kg N/ha to those plots designated to receive fertilizer.
The whole area was mulched after planting with 10 cm of softwood bark mulch.
Plant cover measurements, determined yearly using photography and Assess 2.0 (Image Analysis Software for Plant Disease Quantification), indicated that after a period of 6 years, blueberry cover was 17.5% for the control and this increased to 40% when fertilized.
Without fertilizer, planting tissue culture plants in tilled or untilled soil had similar ground cover of 34 and 29%, respectively.
The greatest plant cover occurred within plots that had plants and fertilizer; and cover was greater (60%) when soil was untilled compared to tilled (47.4%).
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