Rabbiteye Results

blueboy1977(TX9A/B)June 7, 2013

Got to taste all my rabbiteye varieties side by side yesterday and here are my conclusions. I am becoming more and more fond of SHB fruit with the exception of Brightwell and Alapaha. They are not great compared to SHB but are very acceptable for a late season berry. Powdery Mildew is a on going problem with Rabbiteyes.

Brightwell- Largest over all size and best flavor and sweetness. Most production to boot for my corner of the world. Berries are very round and really look like sweetcrisp berries. Still my favorite Rabbiteye so far.

Alapaha- this plant was just about removed last fall after struggling to establish but I've managed to keep it growing and glad I did. The berries are very small for a rabbiteye, about the same size as Sunshine blue but they do have a good flavor and sweet. I'm thinking the size may improve if it takes of this year. We shall see!

Austin- I only got a handful of fruit off this plant and it was better than most Rabbiteyes. Sweet with a nice flavor comparable to Alapaha but with average size berries. Only problem is it didn't set much fruit at all and I think it was from lack of chilling. Getting rid of it.

Woodard- I've had a lot of negative things to say about this variety but this year the fruit was better than last. I had more patients this year and let the fruit hang untill at least 50% ripe and it made a difference. The fruit is sweet with a very light flavor. Almost bland but sweet. It's not bad but not what I'm looking for.

Beckyblue, Blue Gem- same as Woodard with a slight difference in flavor but still very light flavor and sweet. Nothing to write home about. Gone.

That being said I'm keeping 3 Rabbiteyes and the rest are gone. I'm going from six raised beds down to three raised beds. I'm keeping Brightwell, Alapaha and Bluegem. Bluegem just happens to be in a good spot and I'm too lazy at this point to remove it. The Alapaha will be moved to a 25 gallon pot. I'm trying to open up the area for sun and air cause mildew is a on going battle on Rabbiteye leafs.

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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)


Thanks for the results of your berry tasting.

I have some Rabbiteyes, and Brightwell seems to me to be the best tasting, however I don't have it anymore. Even though it tastes so good, it does not bear much fruit. Tifblue, Powderblue, and Onslow bear much more, and taste good if left to ripen fully on the bush.
I wish that you were growing the 3 that I mentioned, I would like to know if the results in your climate and soil is similar to mine.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Do you grow any high bush? I can see my self in the future growing nothing but SHB. Im kinda becoming a Blueberry snob!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 10:12PM
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I don't understand your mildew problem. I've never had it on my rabbiteyes, and I don't spray them at all. Maybe it's a climate thing.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 10:16PM
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It must be a climate thing. Im right on the Gulf of Mexico so its very humid here all the time.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 11:13PM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)


I tried Northern highbush, they did not do well because I won't take the time and effort to make the soil to their liking.

I have 9 O'neal, and they do great. They just started ripening a few day ago, taste sweet and are large. Rabbiteyes should start in about 3 weeks, Climax is usually first.

I read your post about SHB, and might try some of your recommended ones here. Not sure if they would flower too early here and get frozen. O'neal flowers before the Rabbiteyes, and this year a frost killed maybe 5% of the flowers on O'neal, but still getting a decent crop. They do not bear as heavy as the Rabbiteyes, but I keep them because they are early.

I had some Spartan, they ripened the same time as O'neal, but were more trouble and had disease. They got taken out.

I saw a SHB at Lowes here named Suede, have you ever tried it?

I have some small Sweetcrisp, from Florida Hill, did not fruit yet, probably mislabeled anyway.

I plan on getting a few of your SHB keepers to see how they do in the mountains here.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 4:40AM
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I have read about Blue Suede. From what Ive read it sounds like a very ornamental plant with good fruit. Its always hard to go by what you read though. For me, growing them is the only way to tell for sure. That was my whole reason for doing the trial on these plants. Putting a unbiased home grown report out there is about as honest as it gets in my opinion. I do remember chatting with you on here a year or so ago about rabbiteyes. Your up high in the mountains with bad soil if I remember correctly? I hope the Sweetcrips are true to type for you. The Sweetcrisp they sent me were either Emerald or Sharpblue I think. Hopefully you got the real deal but I wouldnt hold my breath on it! When you do get a real one there is know doubt about it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 5:31AM
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Benny, I don't think you need to worry about any of the rabbiteyes that Blueboy grows flowering too early for your area. I grow Brightwell, Becky Blue, and Woodard, and they bloom at the same time as all my other rabbiteyes. I don't think chill hours would wind up making much of a difference in bloom time for you. I have one SHB and it blooms earlier than the rabbiteyes, but despite different chill hour requirements on the rabbiteyes there's no noticeable difference in bloom time. The blueberries are one of the crops I worry about least with late freezes.

Brightwell used to be my favorite rabbiteye until I planted some Yadkins. Yadkin is my clear favorite now (as well as the favorite of my wife and children.) Climax might be my third favorite, but it's pretty close to Tifblue, Powder Blue, Premier... all good-tasting varieties but not outstanding flavor at my place. Other rabbiteyes I have that haven't done anything to impress me yet (especially not in a positive way but not in a negative way either) include Bluebelle, Montgomery, and Woodard. Last year six of my rabbiteyes continued ripening significantly later than all the ones I've mentioned so far, and I generally like their flavor about as well as the others: Centurion, Delite, Bonita, Ira, Onslow, and Garden Blue. I've seen some of those varieties listed as everything but late-season varieties elsewhere, but Centurion seems well recognized as a late variety. I haven't really picked favorites from those six and I haven't done a controlled taste test, but several of those seem quite good, and last year, for instance, they bought me about an extra month of blueberries. Bonita, incidentally, may have the prettiest fall color of all the rabbiteyes.

If I had to start over again knowing what I know now, I'd want to plant something like 50% Yadkins, about 33% a mix of the six I'm counting as late-season varieties, 10% Brightwell, a showing of Climax, and just enough of the others to continue trialing.

My very limited experience with the SHB and NHB is that they're just a lot fussier here than the rabbiteyes -- my two NHB's died after a couple years and my three SHB's have struggled but one has finally gotten established well enough to fruit this year -- so even if the flavor might be better (and even if some of the others taste great elsewhere I wonder how they'd taste if they were stressed), I'm very happy with the rabbiteyes, and I really appreciate trouble-free and reliable fruit. I do want to try some NHB's again, though, in order to try to extend my season on the front end. It seems like there's the potential to buy two or three weeks early. If I do get some I'll put them in a prime location and amend the soil extra generously and mulch and weed and water them extra carefully. Bill Cline particularly recommended Duke to me for an early NHB for my location.

A couple other rabbiteyes that I haven't tried that I'm curious about are Columbus and Lenoir.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 8:04AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

That's good to hear about Yadkin.That and Columbus are the only two Rabbiteyes I have.
They are still young but should get a few berries this year.
I purchased them from Edible Landscaping. Brady

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 10:07AM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

I saw a SHB at Lowes here named Suede, have you ever tried it?

My local Lowe's has Blue Suede, as well, Benny, and the description sounds interesting. The combination of late flowering and early fruit would be nice -- according to a table in the linked article, it flowers later than O'Neal (10 to 16 days later at the GA test locations), and the 50% ripening date for berries was eight to nine days later than O'Neal. The flavor was rated identically (7.7 on a 10 pt scale), and the Blue Suede berries were consistently larger. Since I rather like O'Neal, Blue Suede might be a worth a trial.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Blue Suede TM ': A Southern Highbush Blueberry for the Home Gardener

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 10:12AM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)

Blueboy, can you go to My Page and email me


    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:27PM
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Hey Benny, I emailed you. Did you get it?

I have to take back what I said about Beckyblue. The hotter it's got the better the berries have got. They are delicious now. Just as good if not better than Brightwell. Woodard has gotten better also since my last post but Beckyblue is stealing the show at this point!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:44PM
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