Blueberries are a popular crop for Florida farmers and, unfortunately, they’re also popular with birds. Let’s examine the common protection practices of Florida farmers, and what makes farming blueberries in Florida unique.
Florida’s Blueberry Species
Florida blueberries are different because they can survive in mild winters. Common species of Florida blueberries include Southern Highbush and Rabbiteye.
Their respective cultivars are:
- Southern Highbush: Emerald, Jewel Star, Windsor, Springhigh, Sweetcrisp, and Farthing. These species typically grow better in southern Florida.
- Rabbiteye: Beckyblue, Bonita and Climax. These species flourish in northern Florida.
These blueberries require well-drained, acidic soil (a pH of 4.0-5.5). Also, these plants require cross-pollination from the same cultivar, or they will not produce fruit. Keep this in mind when considering planting blueberries in Florida.
Protecting your crops from mother nature is essential for a great harvest. Northern Florida farms must be mindful of the low temperatures. These species need freeze protection so that damages can be kept to a minimum. Common practices to reduce blueberry freeze damage include:
- Increase watering in the cold because wet soil retains heat more effectively than dry soil.
- Avoid late winter and early spring cultivation.
- Prune your crop so that there’s a good mix of early and late blooming fruit.
- Get frequent, accurate temperature readings so you can plan for freezing accordingly.
Nets and crop cages are becoming increasingly popular options for animal protection. Their ease of use is the main selling point. The problem with cages is that they don’t scale well with large groups of plants. Experts recommend crop cages for a small number of bushes to keep the cost low. Nets can impact the growth of bushes and pose a hazard for birds because birds can get tangled and stuck.
Related: How to Protect Blueberry Bushes from Birds
Use Avian Control for Your Crops
Avian Control is the best way to protect your blueberry crops. Spray crops with Avian Control for up to two weeks of protection, and get the satisfaction that birds and crops will not be harmed in the process.
Call an expert today to learn how Avian Control can protect your farm.