Training young Sweetcrisp and Bluecrisp, how are yours doing?

fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TXAugust 20, 2011

Two months to the day since the Sweetcrisp arrived from Florida Hill Nursery. These were about as small as you'll get but healthy. They are growing enough that I've started tipping and training.

Here are two of the better looking Sweetcrisp that I've started training. All are 5 gal except as noted.

A range of the Sweetcrisp including one plant that looks like it's going to die.

I also got in some Bluecrisp from another source. They were 3 yr plants that were cut back massively and had a rootball about the size of a lemon. They are all still alive but only one has sprouted new growth from down low. Plant on the right is a Star.

Lastly a poor picture of my only 2nd leaf Sweetcrisp which was potted up to 12 gal after harvest.

I'm also getting in 50 Sweetcrisp liners next week. Way too many plants but they were cheap.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Fabulous! My Sweet Crisp are smaller, but coming along, I'm so excited. They're being dwarfed by the Emerald, which sits between them, but it was much larger to start with. Emerald is rather precocious in its growth habit for me. Can't wait to see how all your Sweet Crisp do, my gosh. 50!!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 4:56PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Patty:

Both Emerald and Sweetcrisp are considered very vigorous. Sweetcrisp is probably a little more upright than Emerald. But the strong new shoots from down low that I want to form the basic framework are generally too prostrate on both. So I'm trying up those new shoots or whatever shoots seem big enough to make a bush. Any cane will make a bush if it's held in the right position. At least that's my plan right now.

Currently Emerald is my choice for yield and Sweetcrisp for eating quality. We'll see how long that lasts ;-)

I got in both Emerald and Sweetcrisp from FHN and can't tell the difference without looking at the tag.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 6:16PM
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molex

I'd love to get my hands on either (*.crisp) plants, going to wait to see if my Jewels survive our NYC winter, if they do my order will be in by St.Patrick's day.

Those 3 yr old plants have nice structure, but you say the root-ball was only the size of a lemon? do you think they will survive?

Have you cut back on the Ammonium sulfate? I remember you were mentioning cutting back the dosage, just curious, gave my plants one last dose for the season last week.

My final total came in under 25lb of fruit from 10 2-3yr old plants (Jersey,Duke,Northland,Berkley,Legacy,Jewel). Not bad for an average year with new plants in a new location. Next year I am hoping to double the production. I was really pushing growth this season after fruiting on my most of them.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 8:16PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

MoleX:

I'm still pushing the 21-0-0 once a week. But only watering as needed, once every 1-3 days. Guess I'll keep pushing until I have more stem blight or some other negative outcome.

I was less than impressed with the shipping method on the 3yr Bluecrisp. They were dug up in the field in NJ and the roots cut back to about 1/2 inch. Honest the rootball was no bigger than a lemon. That was wrapped in saran wrap. No wet packing material, nothing else. I don't know how they would ever have survived planting outdoors. I think they'll survive but won't be ordering there again.

How do you think the fruit compared on your plants this year, all about the same eating quality?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 9:55PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Fruitnut/MoleX, got a question for you. Im pretty sure that all my plants were 2 years old when I got them with the exception of the Brightwell which I believe was 3 years old just from the size of the base of the plant. All were in pots when bought. When planting I cut 4 slices down the sides of the root balls and roughed them up pretty good to loosen the edges. With the growth Ive gotten this year would you recommend removing all fruit buds, some fruit buds, or just let them go? From what Ive read they say to remove all fruit buds the first 2 years after planting. Is this because the root system isnt able to support that much bush along with berries? Im pretty sure I will have to thin some of the rabbiteyes because after purning and tipping the new growth the last couple weeks I think I may have way to many fruit buds for the plant to support. Then again I could be wrong.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 10:18PM
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molex

On tubes and quarts I strip flowers on 1 and 2 yr old plants, anything with a bigger root ball, and depending on how badly I want to taste that variety, I will leave a couple to fruit for tasting.

Northland - incredible producer, fruit was on the small side but had a very nice acidic/tart finish. Very dark blue almost with the least amount of skin wax. (these grow p.wild, 4ft wide 2 ft tall, been working on it ;p) We ate them fresh and used these in pancakes and baked goods.

Jewel - was gifted to me, 3yr old plants in 3 gal containers (4ft tall bushy, but typical upright crammed nursery growing). Planted mid may with fruit set, thinned some approx 1/3 from both plants. Huge berries, not sure if I let them sit on the plant too long, or too much water, but the flavor was subtle, but I was looking for more of a wow, from things I had read online. Hoping it survives my NYC winter, will determine my purchases come spring. Ate these mostly fresh, made a great milkshake.

Jersey - excellent as usual, these are about 6yr old plants (~5ft), but I moved them from a morning only sun location to full sun right before bud break and they took off, biggest fruit set in years. powder blue big berries, one of the sweetest I have. A must have IMO for northern growers despite all the newer varieties.

Legacy - 1st year with this one, picked up one in March and another in late July after fruiting. I allowed the early plant to produce about a dozen berries out of a possible 3 or 4 dozen. Medium sized heavy waxed, super sweet with a mild but noticeable acid finish, my favorite next to Jersey.

Berkley - same deal as Legacy, but I didn't sample enough berries to pass judgement. they were OK but not great, next season will be a better test. It is putting on impressive growth.

Duke - Dark large berries, with avg sweetness and a little more tartness than jersey, I like these, they were the 1st plants I purchased way back when.

Blueray & Bluecrop - these came in tubes, late in the season, still in 1gal containers out back, growing well, will plant in the fall.

Haven't looked into what I want for next season, curious about the Nursery that sent you Bluecrisp from NJ? may be worth taking a ride into the armpit of America.

Jersey,Duke and Northland were covered in about 7 feet of snow from about Christmas to st. pats day, damn resilient plants.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 11:03PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

blueboy:

I've never removed all the fruit/buds except on small, newly planted bushes. On those growing so well this year your only concern is just what you mentioned, they can set too much fruit. There again, that's only really serious on plants that don't leaf well in the spring.

I can't see fruit buds yet except on my Star that wasn't pruned much after harvest. That Star is really loaded with buds. I'll thin out the fruiting wood and probably remove a few old canes this winter. That plant bore 15-18 lbs last year in a 15 gallon pot. Don't want much more fruit set than that.

Can you already see fruit buds on yours that have been growing rapidly this summer?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 11:10PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

MoleX:

Only one of those I've fruited is Jewel. Not too impressed with it as to taste. It does produce very well.

Thanks for the report.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 11:45PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

the only plant Im seeing fruit buds on so far is Emerald. It has formed some buds the last 3 weeks after pruning back some long shoots. I also put up a filtered light/shade cloth over my SH. I was starting to notice a few leafs that looked cooked from the sun. After putting up the shade cloth the sun damage stopped but the new shoots from pruning a few weeks back are growing very slowly. Is this from the shade cloth not letting enough sun light? Should I even put up a shade cloth? Its been in the high 90s with heat index up around 105. I was thinking I could shade them in the middle of the day untill the heat subsides alittle or will they be alright and Im just overkilling?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 11:50PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

blueboy:

I doubt you'd see fruit buds 3 weeks after pruning back. Tomorrow I'll try taking some pictures of fruit buds on Star.

Shade should help in this heat unless it's excessive, say more than 70%. 50% isn't too much. I may get some 47% next year for mine. I have some 30% now and that's not enough to make much difference. Then again I may double up on the 30% which would equal about 50%.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 12:21AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

This picture shows fat fruit buds in each leaf axil on upper shoot of Star that grew this spring. It looks like there are about 4 flower buds on the outer end of the upper shoot. The lower, longer buds are likely vegetative buds. Fruit buds are short and fat. Vegetative buds are longer.

The lower shoot is one that sprouted after pruning in about mid June. It has no flower buds yet but should by next spring.

Note three bonus babies!!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 10:06AM
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molex

Fruitnut, does the NJ grower sell retail or only wholesale, if the former, hook me up with a name/website.

Thanks

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 7:58PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

MoleX:

I got the Bluecrisp from DiMeo Blueberry Farm. Worst plants I've ever gotten but they are alive, two of five just barely.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dimeo

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 9:34PM
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molex

I figured it was Dimeo, I would not mail order from them, as I have heard all the horror stories, but it may be worth my time to take a ride down into Jersey pick out something in person.

Looking forward to your report next season.

Thanks

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 7:07AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I read somewhere that a few states aren't allowed to receive Sweetcrisp and a few other varieties,Washington State where I live being one of them.Does anyone know the reason?Thanks,Brady

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 1:50PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Hadn't heard that Brady. Usually these restrictions are across the board, not a specific variety. I'd be interested in knowing the answer if this is true.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 3:19PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Okay,Apparently I read the license agreement wrong,to my joy.Three were ordered from Florida Hill Nursery.
So,growing a Sweetcrisp to fruiting stage and tasting it has made it on my bucket list.
I'm wondering,if a pollinator is needed?Sunshine Blue and Legacy are fairly readily available in my area,if those will work.Brady

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 6:24PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Brady, Florida Hill recommends Emerald, so I bought one Emerald, which grows at nuclear proportions, and it is sitting in a pot between two Sweetcrisps which are taking off very nicely for me. Had fruit from the Emerald this year, not a lot but some, and the fruit is equally gigantic, and quite good.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 7:02PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

I put in 20 sweetcrisp and they now make up almost half of my BB plants....that is how much I liked the fruit. Mine were cheap, $2 per plant fieldrun(bareroot) from a local commercial BB farm. Planted them last fall and been in the ground almost a year now and tallest shoots are a bit over 5 feet tall. I will take some pictures of them tomorrow.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 8:14PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

bamboo:

Yours is the third report I've heard on Sweet Crisp eating quality. All have been rave reviews.

I doubt that my little Sweet Crisp plants will make much if any fruit in 2012. My 2010 Sweet Crisp plant probably produced 1.5 lbs in 2011, a year after planting. I'm sure yield of Sweet Crisp will be less than say Emerald, which I'd estimate at 2.5 lbs at the same age.

How many lbs per plant would you consider good off your year old Sweet Crisp next year?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 10:13PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Fruitnut,

From what I have heard the sweetcrisps are not prolific producers. Most probably see that as a disadvantage but I like it. As you know BB tend to produce to the point it hurts the plant or they are unable to ripen all the fruit and the fruit at the end of the season just dries up. I tend to go around and strip some flowers from the bushes to reduce the fruit load......with the sweet crisps I won't need to do that.

Because these guys are young and were bareroot and because I have so many plants so don't need the fruit I will not let the smaller sweetcrisps (maybe 5 of the 20)produce any fruit. The sweetcrisps that really grew well (the other 15) I will let them produce approx 1/2 of the flower buds they initiate. How much will that be....i'm not real sure.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 8:03AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

bamboo:

I'm with you on Sweetcrisp production and their lower yield is probably part, a small part, of why the quality is so good. If mine set any fruit buds I doubt I'll thin the crop at all even on the smallest plants. With their vigor, good leafing, and low fruit bud count; I can't see fruiting hurting the plants one bit.

With Emerald on the other hand I'll thin that fruit on young plants. It sets way more fruit and it has large berries. Even though it leafs out very well, the fruit load could hurt eating quality. So my reason to limit fruiting on Emerald would be concern about fruit quality not plant health. However, there could be one issue that might change my mind, stem blight. I'd suspect that over cropping could lead to more stem blight but that's just a guess on my part.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Thanks Patty,after reading your message,I immediately sent an e-mail to Florida Hill requesting an Emerald to be added to the order.Hopefully it was received before it left.Brady

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 10:33AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Fruitnut,

I don't think the sweetcrisps flower production will hurt them at all. The reason I will remove the flowers from the smaller ones and remove some of the flowers from others is simply to allow them to channel that energy into growth.

Here are a few pictures. This is the front BB bed, contains 34 bushes. Sweetcrisps, Millenium, Gulf coast, Emerald, Southern Belle and Windsor. There is another bed in the back with at least 10 bushes.


This is a southern belle planted as a 1 gallon in March of 2009. Very happy with it's growth in 2 years.

One of the smaller sweet crisps planted as bareroot 12" plants fall of 2010.

A row of sweetcrisps all of which grew great, also planted fall of 2010.

Over 6 feet tall, that is 5 feet of growth this season.

A close up of the sweetcrisp leaves

Shot of the entire bed. It is a circular driveway and they are in the circle.

Shot of the harvest

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 12:22PM
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northwoodswis4

Bamboo-Rabbit,
Thanks for sharing those pix. I didn't notice any nets. Do the birds bother your berries? I see you have a bird bath in the middle of the circle, so maybe you don't mind if they do. Do the bushes turn bright reds in the fall that far south? If so, that must be a pretty sight out your windows. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 3:31PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Northwoods,

The bushes here don't lose most of their leaves until they bloom in the spring.

A nice side effect of being in the middle of a large commercial blueberry growing area is the birds go to the big farms, the acres and acres of bushes and leave me alone lol. All I ever get taking berries is the resident cardinals and I have no problem sharing with them.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 4:07PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Bamboo rabbit,
Nice canes!
Here are my 3 year in ground 'Draper'. I've pruned them early on this year to make them bushier. I'll be applying sulfur granules this week while the ground is still warm.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/67161896@N04/6112329261/in/photostream/
Same block, but 'Duke'. Can you guess the treeline? I will also be encroaching into the woods with my chainsaw a bit.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/67161896@N04/6112330587/in/photostream/
My new planting of Elliott close by and Bluecrop in back ground. Yes, I need to organize some items that are lying around.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/67161896@N04/6112327955/in/photostream/
Weed, pH, and moisture control are my biggest challenges. I need another 3" of pine material and drip irrigation set up.
Noogy

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 4:47PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Noogy,

Very healthy looking plants. Far as my guess.is that sumac? How many BB plants do you have total? I finally got around to counting mine today, there are 54 which is more than I thought I had.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 8:03PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

BR, I have 300 in ground. 175 are newly planted, 125 Bluecrop, and 50 Elliott. It looks like my drapers and even dukes could use 4' spacing instead of 2.5-3'.Yes that's sumac. I'll be putting my chain and tractor to use soon.
Noogy

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 7:59AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Noogy,

I grew up in Pennsylvania so Sumac I know.

300 wow:) What are your plans for the fruit?

And I am still wrong on the number of BB bushes I have........I counted the front bed 34 and 20 in the back bed...but I forgot about the 9 sunshine blue which are landscape plants around the front of the house so the actual total for BB is 63.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 8:58AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Here are three young Sweetcrisps that arrived today from Florida Hill Nursery.I was surprised at how tiny the leaves were,but then again,this is the first time I've seen blueberry plants at this stage.If they survive this winter,I think they will be in the clear.Grow babies grow!Brady

PS. Using the instructions in Gardenweb about posting from Photobucket,after numerous attempts,a link is the best I could do.Brady

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 12:16AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Bradybb:

Those are good looking plants. Bigger than the FHN Sweetcrisp I got in June. Mine are growing like weeds and I haven't given up on a touch of fruit next year.

If I figured out how to post pics from photobucket anyone can. There are four codes associated with each picture on PB. Tap on the second from bottom to highlight that code. Then right click to copy that code. Now come back to your post in progress here. Hit enter several times to move the cursor down several lines. Then for some reason you must click the cursor back up to the bottom of the text and then run it back down using the arrow key. Now right click and paste the PB code into your post. Review the post to see what you've done.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 8:22AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Brady,

Those plants look great. If you look at the picture I posted in this thread of the ruler on the leaf...look down at the base of the photo and you will see the same small leaves you have. Small leaves are just what the juvenile plants produce.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 8:38AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Thanks fruitnut.That sounds like an odd way of posting a photo,but I'll try with a entry sometime.Brady

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 11:35AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Fruitnut, wanted to resurrect this thread again, to see how your Bluecrisp are coming along? Curious if they are ripe yet, and if so, how they taste in comparison to Sweetcrisp?

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:40PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Patty:

Bluecrisp are just done blooming. Not sure they will always be this late because my plants are small and barely survived being dug up last year and shipped to me. I removed most bloom but will have fruit to taste.

Connie Horner said they are her families favorite but I don't think she has tried Sweetcrisp yet. She does have large plants for sale as they are being removed from her commercial orchard. They call them Crunchy, not Bluecrisp.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 8:40AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Patty:

Meant to ask how you like your FHN unknown, the one with the big open clusters. Right now, after barely trying a few berries, it's one of my favorites. The fruit isn't anywhere nearly as good as Sweetcrisp, but those big easy to pick berries are very tempting.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 8:59AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I might need to add one thing to this post. The plants identified as Sweetcrisp above are something else. As to the Bluecrisp they are looking much better.

Patty: Have you tasted the FHN unknown?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:19AM
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