Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blueberry cultivar ‘NEW HANOVER’

Released: 2007 (Patent date 12 May 2009)

Developed by:  Jim Ballington and Susan Rooks, NCSU 

Selection Number: NC 3103

Parentage: NC 1522 × 'O’Neal'

Species/type: Vaccinium corymbosum (Southern highbush blueberry)

Bloom Date: April 1 (or approximately 1 week before ‘Croatan’)*

Harvest Season: Begins May 25 (3-4 days later than ‘Croatan’)* 

Chill Requirement: Unknown; likely 800+ hours based on observations of leafing at the NCSU Ideal Tract farm in Castle Hayne.

Description: Moderately upright, sturdy, vigorous bush, flowers white, new leaf growth with reddish-orange tinge. Self-fruitful and very high yielding. Developed for hand harvest. Large, light blue fruit.

Good Characteristics: Excellent flavor, large, light blue fruit. Vigorous, very high-yielding and early ripening; easily propagated from cuttings.

Flaws: Low spreading branches require aggressive pruning as a young bush to force upright growth. Tearing of the berry skin around the stem scar at harvest (torn scars) has been observed on as much as 5% of the fruit. This tendency is worse on young bushes and when berries are overripe. 

Potential: Released for hand harvest, not considered suitable for machine harvest due to wide growth habit, rigid, non-bending canes and large berry size. Though slightly later ripening, 'New Hanover' is recommended as a replacement for 'Croatan' on lowland blueberry soils in the southeastern coastal plain of NC.  Not currently recommended for upland, piedmont or mountain sites.

*Dates are for southeastern NC