Developing an organic production system for highbush blueberry

William Sciarappa, Sridhar Polavarapu, James Barry, Peter Oudemans, Mark Ehlenfeldt, Gary Pavlis, Dean Polk, Robert Holdcraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Four significant developments have occurred that amplify opportunity for certified organic growers to grow highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) successfully. First, there is the 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture national organic standard that defines organic production practices and crop labels that creates clarity and evens competition. Second, we have the continued increase of smallfruit and vegetable sales related to nutritional and human health reasons and the related market perception valuing organic produce more highly. Third, new tools are becoming available to organic growers that reduce the risk from pest problems such as the recent Organic Materials Review Institute listing of spinosad registered as a wettable powder (Entrust) and a fruit fly bait (GF-120 NF Naturalyte). Finally, the Rutgers Blueberry Working group has made considerable progress in refining integrated pest management practices and in developing new tools for organic production systems. This "work-in- progress" is investigating alternative approaches to some current agricultural practices in soil building, fertility, cultural approaches, and pest management. The authors' 7-year program has demonstrated organic methods in managing new sources of mulch, two key insect pests, two common diseases, and several weed species in establishing a commercial organic production system for highbush blueberries. As a programmatic result, organic acreage in New Jersey has increased from 0 to more than 150 acres, and more than 40 organic growers have adopted parts of this holistic production system in North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Horticulture


  • Integrated pest management
  • Organic crop methods
  • Smallfruit
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Vaccinium corymbosum


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