The Resilient Journey of Wild Blueberries of America: From Origins to Cultivation Challenges

Posted by Cameron Douglass, Ph.D., Agronomist/Weed Scientist, USDA Workplace of Pest Administration Coverage in

Food and Vitamin

Aug 23, 2023

Wild blueberries on bushes

August is prime time for wild blueberries, often known as “lowbush” blueberries, in the US. Whereas over 95% of untamed blueberries are produced in Maine, wild blueberries are native to a lot of the northern United States.

Wild blueberries are perennial vegetation that naturally set up themselves following disturbance, and the situation of many present wild blueberry barrens may be traced again to the final interval of glaciation within the U.S. Whilst you can develop wild blueberries from seed, it may be difficult to take action, and may take 8-10 years for vegetation to mature and produce berries. Wild blueberries additionally thrive in very distinctive soil and environmental circumstances that aren’t widespread. So, most industrial wild blueberry barrens are naturally occurring fields that growers nurture, together with with common disturbance (both mowing or fireplace) occurring each 2-3 years to extend yields.

These common disturbances, together with the excessive genetic range that happens inside these pure barrens of untamed blueberries attributable to centuries of evolution in place, implies that comparatively few pesticides are sometimes required to develop wild blueberries. Wild blueberry growers rely closely on Built-in Pest Administration (IPM) methods to handle typical weed, insect pest, and illness pressures. With that mentioned, invasive pests similar to Noticed wing drosophila pose new challenges to the wild blueberry trade, and USDA is working carefully with extension consultants on the College of Maine and elsewhere make sure that wild blueberry producers have the instruments they should handle these new threats.

There may be nothing fairly like choosing your individual wild blueberries and consuming them contemporary, however fortunately 98% of untamed blueberries grown within the U.S. are shortly flash frozen and shipped across the globe to be loved in your granola, muffins, or pies.