Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blueberry cultivar 'LEGACY'

Released: 1993 (not patented)

Developed by: USDA and NJAES, Rutgers University

Selection number: G-290

Parentage: 'Elizabeth' x US75 (Vaccinium darrowi,'Florida 4B', x 'Bluecrop')

Species/Type: Vaccinium corymbosum (southern highbush)

Bloom date: April 1 in southeastern NC (approx 1 wk before 'Croatan')

Harvest season: First harvest around May 30 - June 3 in southeastern NC

Chill requirement: Estimated to be 700 to 800 hours below 45F

Description: Upright, open habit with flexible canes. Highly vigorous, forming an abundance of flower buds on both longer canes and lateral fruiting twigs.  Often a few leaves from the previous season will overwinter, persisting until after bloom the following spring. Early-blooming with pure white,elongate flowers.  Fruit light blue, firm, with excellent flavor; large berries becoming medium in size with successive harvests, small dry stem scar.  Clusters are open and well suited to mechanical harvest.  Berries maintain their quality even when slightly overripe, and are less prone to decay than other highbush cultivars.

Good Characteristics:  Blooms exhibit cold hardiness during spring freezes. 'Legacy' is highly productive with high-quality fruit that can be hand- or machine-harvested for the fresh market.  Widely adapted to different soil types, 'Legacy' is a good candidate for highbush production on pine-bark-amended soils in the piedmont.

Flaws:  Early blooming may result in yield loss due to spring freezes.  'Legacy' ripens two to three weeks later than early cultivars like 'Star' and 'O'Neal'. 'Legacy' is susceptible to blueberry stem canker disease caused by the fungus Botryosphaeria corticis, and will require irrigation and selective pruning to manage this disease.  Purchase of disease-free propagation stock will reduce or delay the effects of stem canker.

Potential:  Rapidly becoming a leading cultivar in North Carolina due to high yields and excellent fruit quality, 'Legacy' is recommended for commercial planting on lowland blueberry soils in southeastern NC, and for trial plantings in amended upland soils in the coastal plain and piedmont.