Jeff Williamson, professor in University of Florida’s horticultural sciences department, spoke at the Fruit Crop Management Short Course in November about newer blueberry cultivars and their success in Florida. The three newer varieties Williamson discussed were Arcadia™, Avanti™ and Endura.
Arcadia™ is a low-chill cultivar, requiring less than 200 hours of chilling. According to Williamson, it is adapted to production in regions in central and south-central Florida. It works well in an evergreen management system. Arcadia™ has a large fruit size and a sweet flavor, and Williamson said it has great leaf disease tolerance.
Arcadia™ is not for all regions of the state. Williamson said it has had low yields in north Florida. It also has a long harvest season, and firmness is just above the minimum requirement. Looking toward the future, the cultivar’s spreading growth may not be optimal for machine harvest.
Avanti™ is a very low-chill cultivar, requiring 100 hours of chilling. Like Arcadia™, Avanti™ is ideal for central and south-central Florida. Williamson said Avanti™ can be grown with hydrogen cyanamide as a dormancy agent with minimal yield loss. This cultivar has a firm fruit and a small, dry picking scar, making the look and feel ideal for the marketplace.
However, Avanti™ has a smaller fruit size, especially late in the season. Williamson added that this cultivar is susceptible to botrytis fruit rot and gall midge damage on flowers.
Lastly, Endura is also a low-chill cultivar, requiring 150 chilling hours. It has mid-to-late maturity and thrives in central Florida. Endura has a large and firm fruit with what Williamson called an “excellent and persistent” blue color.
Endura is susceptible to leaf rust, but does not experience leaf drop. It is also susceptible to phytophthora root rot.
Williamson concluded by warning growers that Arcadia™ and Avanti™ have had reports of bacterial wilt within the past year. “Don’t stop planting, just be aware,” Williamson advised.
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