Propagation of Vaccinium arboreum by Stem Cuttings for Use as a Rootstock for Commercial Blueberry Production
Type of Degreethesis
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Commercial blueberries, including V. corymbosum and V. ashei, have very specific needs for optimum growth; hence, growing sites are limited. They require acidic soil (pH 4.0-5.5), good drainage, thorough aeration, and a constant moderate amount of moisture. To overcome these restrictions they could be grafted onto V. arboreum, a species adapted to less desirable growing conditions. Currently, V. arboreum plants are commercially propagated from seeds. Successful asexual propagation techniques will be necessary for rapid clonal propagation of selected cultivars of V. arboreum. The objective of this experiment was to identify an efficient way to propagate V. arboreum using stem cuttings. We found that IBA quick-dip concentration (0, 1000, 2500, 5000, or 7500 ppm IBA) did not influence rooting percentage of V. arboreum. The factors that influenced rooting the most were the source of the cutting and the cutting type (softwood, semi-hardwood, or hardwood). The greatest rooting success was observed with softwood cuttings; there was also success using semi-hardwood cuttings from plants that had been cut back in February 2010 and allowed to sprout new shoots. The results of this experiment can be used to determine the feasibility of using stem cuttings to commercially propagate V. arboreum.