Effects of inoculation with ericoid mycorrhizal fungi on leaf nutrients of two field-grown rabbiteye blueberry cultivars
Ericoid mycorrhizal fungi (EMF) increase plant access to nutrients via a symbiotic relationship with the root system. EMF have been used previously in nursery production of blueberry plants and were shown to be beneficial. Field studies using northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) were less conclusive. In the present study, three-year-old rabbiteye (Vaccinium virgatum) cultivars, 'Tifblue' and 'Climax', were inoculated or not with two EMF species, Oidiodendron maius (OM) and Pezizella ericae (PE), and grown in the field in Mississippi. Inoculation with either EMF species had no effect on yield during the first year after transplanting and, when both species were applied, reduced the concentration of iron (Fe) in the leaves relative to no inoculum. Although the roots of the plants were visibly colonized by EMF prior to transplanting, no colonization was found in any of the treatments after a year in the field. More work is needed to identify suitable EMF species for rabbiteye blueberry and to determine whether there are any economic benefits to using EMF inoculum in commercial field production systems.
Stafne, E.T., Matta, F.B. and Barickman, T.C. (2017). Effects of inoculation with ericoid mycorrhizal fungi on leaf nutrients of two field-grown rabbiteye blueberry cultivars. Acta Hortic. 1180, 117-122
Vaccinium virgatum, Oidiodendron maius, Pezizella ericae, fruit production, mycorrhizal colonization