Performance of 'Emerald' and 'Jewel' blueberry cultivars under no-chill incidence

ABSTRACT Climate is a limiting factor for cultivating blueberries in new areas in Brazil, being the commercial production restricted only to the colder and high-altitude regions of the southern states. This study aimed to evaluate the performance of low-chill requirement 'Emerald' and 'Jewel' blueberry cultivars. For that, the stages of vegetative growth, sprouting, flowering fruiting and yield were assessed. The 'Emerald' cultivar has two peaks for both flowering and fruiting, with the main harvest period occurring between August and October, while the 'Jewel' cultivar shows two peaks for budding, but only one flowering peak and only one harvest, which extends from October through January. For both cultivars, the production occurs during the off-season of the internal and external markets, resulting in higher fruit prices. Growing both cultivars is feasible in a subtropical region with no-chill incidence, thus demonstrating that these cultivars have much lower chill requirements than those referred to in the literature, and favoring, this way, the fresh fruit production during the off-season of the main producing countries in the northern hemisphere.