THE EFFECT OF SNOW DEPTH ON WINTER SURVIVAL AND PRODUCTIVITY OF MINNESOTA BLUEBERRIES
Winter temperatures as low as -37°C were recorded near unprotected plant tissue. Plants with 0–15 cm of snow suffered 80–90% winter die-back and nearly 100% loss of fruit. Plants with 15–30 cm of snow had dieback of 30–40% but produced total yields equal to the 30–45 cm or 45–60 cm treatments. Examination of fruit components indicated that there was greater fruit set with the 30–45 cm and 45–60 cm treatments but individual berry size was reduced. Plants with 15–30 cm protection produced fewer fruit of larger size resulting in equal total production. Severely winter damaged plants recovered with good regrowth and fruit bud development the following season. A minimum of 30 cm of snow is necessary to insure dependable fruit production of half-high statured blueberry cultivars in northern Minnesota.