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  • Rabbiteye vs. Southern High Bush Pros and Cons

    Currently I am only growing Rabbiteye varieties but I am thinking of adding some SHB's. I've done a little reading but need some more educated or experienced growers to offer their thoughts. Here is what I can say about the RE's:
    1. Long lived
    2. Disease free
    3. Don't require much training (mostly upright growing)
    4. Native pollinators take care of everything
    5. Acclimated to my Winters
    6. Seem to produce well
    7. Don't require much to satisfy their PH needs (I just use Acid Lovers fertilizer)
    8. Easy to feed (again just use Acid lovers fertilizer)
    9. Easy pruning (just remove four year old wood at ground level)

    I am no expert and maybe I could double my yields if I did things differently. I only have about fifty plants but I don't sell any. If I have too many (how can that happen when they freeze so well) I'll just give some away.

    So how do the SHB compare in my listed categories. Feel free to add categories like Taste, Seediness and Size.
    Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

  • #2
    Great topic. I was wandering tge same thing. I only have 15 rabbit eye. (Never thought I'd say that). With all the good points you listed I just can't run out and buy the SHB. And that's saying something because I have no problem buying anything else with a leaf.
    Pine Prairie, LA 8B

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    • #3
      I've grown several varieties of Rabbiteyes here along the humid gulf coast. I had mild to severe cases of powedery mildew on all the leafs every year with Rabbiteyes. It seemed to me the fruit quality increased at about the 4 year mark. Brightwell was by far the best tasting of the 5 I grew. I sold off all of my Rabbiteyes to make room for SHB. I've actually had much less problems with mildew and disease with SHB. SHB tend to have more pest issues than Rabbiteyes in my expirence. Namely Trips and Aphids. Other than that, IMO the fruit of SHB is far superior than that of Rabbiteyes. Especially a few of top varieties like Sweetcrisp and Springhigh. There are others as well but we all know which ones Im referring to.

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      • #4
        Thanks,

        So far I haven't had any mildew issues. I wonder why yours did. I have the same if not more Summer humidity. I am encouraged by your SHB comments. I found Britewell to be a good one also. Some of mine are going into their fifth year. It looks like I have a good crop set. Did you have any splitting issues?
        Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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        • #5
          Brightwell had splitting issues bad

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          • #6
            Blueboy, did you have Titan and Vernon? Though tempted to plant these two varieties, I have read Titan also has bad splitting issues.
            Zone 8B, Texas

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            • #7
              Both those are too high chill for my zone so I never tried them. I grew powderblue, Woodard, Bluegem, Brightwell and Alaphaha. All under 400 chill hours except for powderblue.
              Splitting is only a factor once they turn blue immediately after a rain. I wouldn't let it stop me from trying out a new variety like Titon if I could. You only loss a few if it rains when there blue.

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