Blueberry question?

Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)April 6, 2014

I went to Home Depot and they have 1 gallon pot of Duke, Blue Crop, Northland, Chippewa blueberries on clearance for $4/plant. I got two Sweetscrisp from Real Flora come soon for $18/plant in a 14"deep cone pot. Which one of the above varieties is good to eat and best for pollinator.
Thx.

Tony

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Tony:

The northern probably aren't ideal pollinators for Sweetcrisp. They'll likely bloom later. There might be enough overlap to help. But a partial set on Sweetcrisp won't be much. And it doesn't set without pollination. You might want to pick up a Springhigh. It will bloom with Sweetcrisp, tastes great, and sets without pollination.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:51AM
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Bradybb(wa8)

Yes,fruitnut is right Tony.Another Southern Highbush is needed for your Sweetcrisp.
I've tasted those Northern ones listed,except for Northland,and do like Chippewa and Bluecrop more.Duke is fairly mild.Two of them could be bought for each other,if wanted to try them out. Brady

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:53AM
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charina(6b)

Are those sweetcrisp going to do ok in 5a? Or are they going to need winter shelter in the coldest part of the winter?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:59AM
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Bradybb(wa8)

Yes,the Sweetcrisp will most likely need protection from the cold.I think they are rated to survive about 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Brady

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:12AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Does anyone know if honeybees will pollinate blueberries. In my greenhouse bumblebees do a great job and love the bb. But outside the honeybees seem to ignore bb.

I've not purchased bumblebees the last two years. That's why I know what sets by itself and what doesn't. I'm buying bees again next year.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:31AM
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Bradybb(wa8)

I've never seen Honeybees on my Blueberries.It always the Bumblebees.Maybe it's the closed shape of the flower and the Honeybee goes for a more easy open one.The Bumblebee can vibrate and shake the pollen out somewhat. Brady

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:49AM
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MrClint

fruitnut, as an added benefit of growing organic and not spraying pesticides, my yard is loaded with honeybees, hummingbirds, bumbles and various hovering type bees. They all are very active when BB are in bloom. I would be hard pressed to wager a guess as to which is the better pollinator. I just assume they are all good at it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Thx guys, I just bought some peat and pine bark to pot them up soon. I also bought a bag of PH lowering granules for blueberry at Home Depot. In addition, I may have to freeze some pollens for the late blooming sweetscrisps.

Tony

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 12:38PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

"Does anyone know if honeybees will pollinate blueberries. In my greenhouse bumblebees do a great job and love the bb. But outside the honeybees seem to ignore bb."

There are always so many big, noisy bumblebees on my blueberries that I tend to overlook the smaller pollinators. Your question prompted me to pay closer attention, though, and, sure enough, I watched as two honeybees collected pollen from my Northcountry bush this afternoon.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:38PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Tony I bought Southmoon, and Legacy rated to zone 6 both southern. Not sure if they will bloom with sweetcrisp? Hoping so as they are my pollenators for mine. Which is not here yet either. A SHB rated to zone 5 is Sunshine Blue.
Just FYI, not sure if you want anymore! Southmoon is hard to find. Legacy is really a NHB-SHB hybrid, but you know SHB are all hybrids too, you may be ok with the Northern. Also as far as bloom time. Well i see mrclint had Sunshine blue fruit for him but if it was in the ground here, it would still be dormant. So when Sweetcrisp will bloom for you will be when it can, even if protected if you bought it last year, it would still be dormant. So only you are going to be able to tell us when Sweetcrisp blooms in your zone. Keep us updated how it goes. I'll do the same. This year will tell us nothing.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:56PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Southmoon and Sweetcrisp are overlapping just fine for me, Drew, so you'll probably be OK in that regard.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:02PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Thanks much Shazaam! I suppose as zone goes down, bloom times become later and later. All depends if I can keep it alive too! I will protect it in unheated garage that never goes below zero, so it should be fine in there. I will bring in out while we still have freezing temps so it knows the local weather. Back in if it rains or snows too much. i will monitor moisture level. Southmoon will be with it. Even though i can put it in the ground here, I'm going to keep it in a pot. So they will be treated the same. I'll report too when all blueberries bloom for future reference. Curious to see when the NHB types I have bloom compared to these SHB. I'll have to wait till next year.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:42PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Drew,

I have an idea. In the Spring, I will take all the NHB out first and let them have a head start. Two weeks later then bring the Bluecrisps out of the dark cold storage and hopefully both varieties will overlap each other. Do you think that will work?

Tony

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:55PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

It could! I know some fruits come from other countries but here in Mi we have had blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries all winter. I didn't buy any, but saw them all the same. Anyway some maybe forced so some control of bloom time must be possible.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:29PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

"Does anyone know if honeybees will pollinate blueberries. In my greenhouse bumblebees do a great job and love the bb. But outside the honeybees seem to ignore bb.
I've not purchased bumblebees the last two years. That's why I know what sets by itself and what doesn't. I'm buying bees again next year."

My commercial BB growing friend rents honeybees to work his 13 acres when they are in flower. I sure hope it does work as he pays $80 per hive per month and has 20 or so hives.

This year is the first year I have seen honeybees actively working my BB's and there were 100's of them. Going to assume a new hive is nearby. I always had honeybees they would come and drink the saltwater off my boat but they ignored the BB. When the citrus are in bloom though they are everywhere. Most of our pollination here gets done by the southeastern blueberry bee, a very small bumblebee.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:04AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Tony:

That's a possibility, start the northern earlier. But it would probably take more than 2 weeks head start. Mine seem to take forever to bloom in the greenhouse, start to finish. I've tried to push earlier bloom so they'd be started when bees arrive. Anything I've done doesn't seem to have much effect. This includes building a platform at 9ft height to take advantage of warmer air and brilliant light up high in the greenhouse.

On the other hand getting some overlap shouldn't be too hard.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:27AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I was thinking maybe the length of day is a trigger, if you extended it with artificial light, they might bloom earlier.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:39AM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Fruitnut, honeybees do most of my pollinating. On nice days above 65 degrees they are everywhere on plants. 15-30 bees per plant! They are drinking nectar though and not collecting pollen so each flower requires a few visits from a honey bee. I have seen some bumble bees too this season but the ones I've seen are drinking nectar as well and collecting pollen. Yesterday I saw a new bee I've never seen before on my plants. It might be a version of the local digger bee or blueberry bee. It was jet black like a carpenter bee but it had a fuzzy butt like bumbles and was half the size of a carpenter bee. Maybe it was a juvenile carpenter? Hard to say as I don't know if the juveniles have a fuzzy butt or not but it didn't have a huge round butt like carpenter. Looked more like a regular shaped bee but was bigger, black and fuzzy.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:53AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Blueboy,

Did the bumble have a white dot on it's face?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:40PM
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charina(6b)

I recalled reading that bumblebees were better pollinators of bbs. Upon reading a bit more this morning, I see that there are over 2000 species of bees in the US alone! Wow.

Bumble bees and other similar species apparently are better at pollinating for two reasons: 1) longer tongues that allow them to reach into the corolla, and 2) they are "buzzing" feeders, which shakes the pollen loose. As honey bees don't have as long of a tongue, the flowers are not as 'attractive' to them. Honey bees may ignore bbs if another more preferred flower is found during the same window as the bb bloom. Plus, honey bees don't buzz, and pollen transfer is is lower.

University of Maine: "Bumble bees can place more than 50 pollen grains upon a lowbush blueberry stigma in a single floral visit (0-10 for a honey bee)"

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:12PM
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ravenh2001

Bumble bees are a better polinater. but I see a few thousand bumbles and order 4 hives (about 200,000) honey bees. most growers here do the same. I think we just hedge our bets.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:14PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Bam, I didn't see any white on the face. I looked for it cause I remember you saying that. That's what almost makes me think it might be a juvenile carpenter but I'm not sure. It didn't look like any bee I've seen before here.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:58PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Fruitnut,

Thanks for the input. I will bring one NHB pot in the sunroom early March of 2015 to give it a head start and see how long it takes for it to bloom.

Tony

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 12:03AM
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