Rabbiteye Blueberry

foolishpleasureFebruary 13, 2013

Is Rabbiteye blueberry sefl-pollinating I have one bush which I left outside until mid January I got worried it might die from the freezing weather. Took it inside the green house while the temp can sometimes reach 70 F. The bush bloomed with lots of flower, If it is not self-pollinating I guess I will get no fruit. If it is not self-pollinating who could be the pollinator from the southren bush I make sure I will have him next year.

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The only variety of rabbiteye that I know of that's partially self fertile is Brightwell but some of the newer varieties might be also. Sharp blue is suppost to be able to pollinate rabbiteyes as its half rabbiteye.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:55PM
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While it is true that rabbiteye blueberry is a southern variety, and it is true that the southern half of the USA is warmer than the northern half, it does indeed freeze now and then in the south. I would think that rabbiteye has some ability to resist frost damage, just not as much resistance to frost as the northern highbush varieties. I'm not sure you have to bring the potted rabbiteye inside, it might do OK if it was set near a house foundation, bedded in with a pile of leaves, and maybe covered with a tarp to keep the leaves in place.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:42PM
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From my experience down here in central Alabama, our rabbiteyes do just fine in the cold weather, at least down into the 20's, and they are all self-fertile. However, if you want larger blueberries, you need at least 2-3 different varieties to allow for cross-pollination. I have five varieties, Climax, Premier, Brightwell, Tifblue and Powderblue. The only time temps below 28 degrees do any harm is when the blossoms have started to emerge. But since they don't all blossom on a bush at the same time, you may only loose a few. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Interesting you said all are self fertile. I never have tried to fruit just one variety of rabbit eye. I started out with 3 varieties from the start so I'm going off of what I've read in articles. I guess the proff is in the puddin! I also do recall reading that Tiftblue is self fertile and Brightwell partial self fertile. I have noticed that Brightwell will send out some early season flowers before any other rabbit eye variety that i have and they do make fruit.

Which of your varieties do you like best for fresh eating? Are you running a pick your own operation?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:14PM
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I've never read that any of the rabbiteyes were females, just that you get bigger berries when they are cross-pollinated with a different rabbiteye cultivar (variety).

I personally like the Brightwell best, but they all taste great when they just turn a solid blue. If they stay on the bush too long, they're sweet but don't have that little extra zing like when you pick them fresh. But, of course, that's me.

We have a blackberry, blueberry and muscadine U-Pick here in central Alabama that runs from the end of May through September. I've added a link to our website if you would like to see what we grow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Barber Berry Farm website

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:01PM
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Barberberryfarm yes central Alabama in zone 8 which is10 degrees warmer than my zone 7 we have been living in freezing weather since January and seems it likes us very much it does not want to go away.I spent some money to build a greenhouse to protect my Citrus and fig trees. I thought I use the greenhouse investment to protect the Rabbiteye.
blueboy1977 thank you for your info I am going to order the variety you mentioned. Some nuseries are saying you get bigger fruit by cross pollination.
By the way if I protect southern bush blueberry from the winter freeze except for the chill hours required can I get two crops. Figs give me two crops.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:50AM
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Nice set up Barberberry, I must say I've got a little garden envy after seeing your spread! I would love to one day be able to run a operation like that. For now I will just keep grinding away in my yard. Thanks for your input on Rabbiteyes. Not many people on here seem to have to much to say about them and I may have a few questions for you in the near future about them.

Foolishpleasure, are you getting Brightwell or Sharpblue? Sounds like you may not have to worry too much about pollination with your rabbiteye that's flowering now if they are indeed self fertile. As far as 2 crops in one season, that's a good question! The only variety I have that has that potential is Emerald but it's grown out doors, not in a green house. Fruitnut could probably answer that for you as he grows his in a green house. That being said, the fall crop on Emerald is very light and I haven't got a good berry yet in fall. I've left a few on there that last 2 falls to see but they never sweetend up for me. There is a new variety called Sweet Heart, Berries Unlimited carries it and they claim you get two crops, spring and fall. If I lived in your zone I think I would add that one to my collection. If I recall right it's a NHB/SHB cross. Don't hold me to it though! I was going to get one just to see how it performed here but the zone ratings haven't been nailed down yet, at least not zone 9a/b where I am. Sunshine blue is a SHB and I believe it's rated to zone 5??? It's a easy plant to grow as well and suppost to be pretty darn cold hardy. Good luck and keep us posted with your results.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 3:44AM
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