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Highbush Blueberry - Research Targets New Markets

Lowbush or wild blueberries have been grown commercially on Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) for decades and now Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research shows the bigger highbush blueberry varieties can be grown successfully on P.E.I. too.

The results point to new crop opportunities for Island berry growers. Highbush berries in limited acreage are already being grown on P.E.I., and the provincial Department of Agriculture is working with growers who are interested in expanding highbush acreage. A larger acreage will be in production in 2009.


Highbush blueberries are harvested earlier than lowbush berries, extending the marketing season for growers. The highbush berries have other advantages as well; they are larger, less perishable than lowbush and are ideal for u-pick operations where the public can move around the 1 to 1.5 m high bushes for easier picking.

The seven year long study done in cooperation with the province included tests for yield, berry weight and plant survival. The highbush varieties tested; survived winter conditions well, are adapted to local growing conditions and provided good-sized berries with the potential for commercial yields.

Yield Results

After five harvest seasons, Northland was the highest yielding cultivar, averaging 1752 kg/ha with the highest production in 2008 of 3639 kg/ha. Bluecrop had very large fruit averaging 1.94 g per berry. Northland and Bluecrop have excellent plant survival with a steady increase in yield. Plant survival ranged from 71% for Patriot to 100% for Duke.

Big, ripe blueberries on a highbush blueberry plant

The highbush blueberry plants are ideal for u-pick operations.
Table 1. Highbush Blueberry Variety Trial, Harrington, P.E.I. 2002-2008.
Cultivar 2004
Yield (kg/ha)
Yield (kg/ha)
Yield (kg/ha)
Yield (kg/ha)
Yield (kg/ha)
Yield (kg/ha)
Berry weight
Plant survival
Northland 211 191 2,297 2,424 3,639 1,752 1.20 96
Bluecrop 84 72 1,422 1,884 2,758 1,244 1.94 96
Patriot 318 394 2,443 565 1,881 1,120 1.8 71
Duke 172 301 2,002 1,079 1,146 940 1.83 100
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