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  • Rabbiteyes

    Figure I would start a thread on Rabbiteyes since this is a blueberry forum.

    I've grown some of the low chill varieties up to 400 chill hours including Brightwell, Bluegem, Beckyblue and Woodard. Tried to grow Alapaha but for some reason it would just not take off and grow for me. I ended up trashing that one. I grew mine in raised beds 3ftx3ft wide and 10inches tall with a mix of pinebark and CSPM about 50-50. These beds were placed on top of existing clay soil and grew for 4 years before I sold them off and moved. They grew great in my climate with the exception of powdery mildew during wet springs which caused some pretty bad leaf issues sometimes. Very vigorous growers and fruiters. I placed my beds way to close together at 6ft spacing. They filled in the gaps with in 2 years and by the 4th year I was pruning hard to keep them in check. I got to where I would just cut the canes off 4ft above the soil line after harvest every summer and buy fall they were over 7ft tall and wide again.

    Of the varieties I grew Brightwell was hands down the best flavored Rabbiteye .in my collection. It was right up there in flavor with some of the better SHB varieties. The skin was a little tougher and the fruit alittle grainier and seedier but produced a ton of very good fruit. One thing that stood out about Brightwell is the fruit was sweet as soon as it started to turn blue so red backs were really not a problem. On a negative note they were very prone to splitting if ripening during any rain and would have to be picked immediately after it rained or right before. I will grow this variety again in the future as well as some of the newer varieties coming out like Titan and Summer Sunset. Not sure about the chill hour requirements with the newer varieties but worth a try none the less.

    Bluegem, Becky Blue and Woodard all seemed to run together for my taste. None really stood out from each other and honestly I was ready to get rid of them after the second year. By the third year I had a little change of heart as the berries started to have some good flavor qualities. Seems some rabbiteyes take several years to start putting out good fruit. By the 4th year I was glad I kept them. I was really enjoying all the varieties because the taste improved greatly and it really extended my harvest after the SHB were all but done. The only SHB that I was picking along side the Rabbiteyes was Sun Shine Blue. That is a great little plant to extend the blueberry picking season. Its a true late ripening blueberry.

    Rob

  • #2
    Could you tell me what you fertilized them with? It sounds like they grew really well.
    Jennings, Southwest Louisiana, Zone 9a

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    • #3
      I've always used regular Microlife 6-2-4 in the green bag. They also have an Azalea Microlife that's also 6-2-4 and it has sulfer add to the ferts. I use the Azalea fert if I start to see chlorotic leafs and brings the ph back down in a couple months and the leafs green up. I like the Microlife because it's organic but a lot of people just use ammonium sulfate as well. It's a chemical fert but readily available and works great! Rain water is key! City or well water will probably have to be treated with Sulfuric Acid to counter act the bicarbonates in the water.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the information.
        Jennings, Southwest Louisiana, Zone 9a

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        • #5
          I use the azalea fertilizer. I need to check my well water but I was told it is 5.5!
          Darkman AKA Charles in Pensacola South of I-10 zone 8b/9a

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