October 21, 2017

Superior

superior blueberriesThe University of Minnesota introduced Superior (MN 5451) blueberry in 2009 through nurseries cooperating with the Minnesota Nursery Research Corporation, as with our past introductions such as Polaris and Chippewa.

Superior is being introduced primarily because it matures the majority of its fruit about 1 week later in the season than other blueberry varieties that can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 and 4 and also because of its exceptional productivity in cold climates.  Superior has been the most productive cultivar in trials at Grand Rapids, MN (Zone 3) and among the most productive blueberry selections in trials at Becker, MN (Zone 4) (see table below).

The plant reaches a height of 4 to 5 feet and a spread of 4-5 feet at Becker in central Minnesota. At Grand Rapids, in northern Minnesota, plants are 2.5 to 3 feet tall and 3-4 feet in diameter.  The plants are similar in stature to Chippewa. They are more upright than Northblue, but have been rated similar in hardiness and begin blooming several days later than Northblue.  Plants produce a typical display of white flowers during bloom in May and maroon foliage in October.

The berries average 1.3 to 1.4 g in mass compared to 1.4 to 1.8 g for Northblue and are similar in size to Chippewa.  The berries are light to medium blue, similar to Polaris and Chippewa and lighter than Northblue. The picking scar has been similar to Northblue and Chippewa and larger than Polaris.  The flavor is balanced and pleasant, less acidic than Northblue.  Superior berries are firmer than Northblue, similar to Chippewa, and not as firm as Polaris.

Average yield and berry weight for blueberry cultivars from 1991-2006 from plantings established in 1989 at Grand Rapids and Becker, MN
  Yield (lbs/plant) Berry Weight (g)
Cultivar Grand Rapids Becker Grand Rapids Becker
Superior 3.3 3.2 1.4 1.4
Northblue 2.1 3.7 1.4 1.8
St. Cloud 2.1 2.4 1.5 1.4
Bluecrop 1.0 3.9 2.0 1.7
Patriot 1.5 4.3 1.6 1.6
Friendship 1.0 2.9 0.9 1.0
LSD 5% 1.1 1.4 0.4 0.3

 

Percent of total yield harvested on each of three harvest dates (average over 1994-1999) from plants established in 1989 at Becker, MN.  Sequential harvest dates are separated by 14 days.
Cultivar Harvest 1 Harvest 2 Harvest 3
Superior 26 57 17
Northblue 39 51 10
St. Cloud 51 43 6