Managing Blueberry Bloom Challenges
Blueberry growers face a critical period between now and the early days of spring. Before blooms break through signaling the beginning of a new season, plants are vulnerable to unpredictable weather patterns. From cold snaps to heavy rainfall, blueberries can endure a significant amount of stress during this period with the potential to threaten a successful bloom. Managing these conditions and nutritional demands throughout the bloom cycle is key to setting the stage for a strong blueberry yield in 2020.
Many areas will still be experiencing temperatures low enough to cause frost as blueberries break from dormancy. For a flowering plant, a spring frost can be devastating. Injured plants struggle to pollinate and develop properly, which impacts fruit set, size and retention. In some cases, yields can be reduced or totally lost to frost. Specialized foliar nutrition can help plants maintain high-energy growth during this period. Megafol is a foliar nutritional supplement that helps plants recover from stress faster with nitrogen, potassium and a precision blend of plant extracts. It improves metabolism and nutrient uptake to help plants use their own energy more efficiently during unfavorable conditions.
“Megafol is used in conjunction with our regular fertility program to aid plant stress by strengthening the blueberry bushes. We have witnessed this result time after time on our farm,” says Michael D. Bruorton, General Manager of Superior Berries Company in Fargo, Georgia.
As the bloom cycle continues, blueberries must complete a variety of complex plant functions to set yield potential and develop value. The amount of energy required during this period of reproductive and vegetative growth increases nutritional demand, and fertilizers alone won’t always satisfy those needs. Meanwhile, bloom sprays are starting to control mounting disease pressure. By adding a foliar nutritional to the tank, blueberries can receive the protection and added nutrition they need in one pass. At Superior Berries Company, Bruorton believes in BM-86 for a “sturdy, healthy bloom.”
“I have used BM-86 on our blueberries for the last 12 years with consistent results. We usually make three to four applications, seven days apart, beginning at bloom until petal fall. The results we see in the field are consistent size, high-quality fruit and higher yields,” says Bruorton.
BM86 enhances the metabolism of polyamines to strengthen flowers and improve pollination. This can result in faster, more uniform growth of larger fruit.
In addition to managing stress and improving reproduction, it’s also important to deliver the right nutrients during bloom. Brexil CBZ delivers a safe, balanced source of calcium, boron and zinc – nutrients required for a strong flower set. Unlike other foliar nutritionals, it reduces the potential to dry out flowers while maximizing foliar uptake of these vital nutrients.
Blueberry bloom provides the best opportunity to start the season strong, but it’s impossible to predict what a new season will bring. A stress management plan and nutritional bloom spray program can give growing blueberries a better chance of success. To build a blueberry bloom program that’s right for you, contact your local Helena representative for more recommendations.