Use of growth regulators: How do they benefit the blueberry crop?

Achieving quality blueberries and in good condition depends on several factors, including the modulation of the development and growth of the plant. These aspects will give quality to the fruit in harvest and postharvest.

Thanks to important advances, both in science and technology, it has been possible to develop various methods that have made it possible to define and specify the management of the cultivation of these berries.

The requirement of cold hours, the percentage of some elements and nutrients present in the soil profile, the nutrient requirements according to variety, also help us to choose the variety that is going to be cultivated and how it adapts better to each zone or region.

In this context, the use of growth regulators (RDC) in the production of these fruits stands out, an increasingly common practice, since these substances have the peculiarity that some of their active ingredients may respond differently, depending on the moment in which they are applied or to concentration.

But in what instances could they be used? Some scientific studies indicate its benefits and highlight that with its use it could regulate the vegetative development and the floral return of the plant, stimulate the maturation couple and early, improve the quality of the fruit, its color, its conservation, and even reduce the Fall of the fruits before harvest.

The use of these synthetic compounds in blueberries can be quite broad, so you should keep in mind the objective you want to achieve, as well as establish what physiological process you want to modify. On this topic, the Agronomist Jorge Retamales, who will explain about the current and potential use of the RDC during his intervention in the Second edition of international seminars offered by our organization Blueberries Consulting in Spain, the next 30 in October.

Retamales, who is a graduate of the University of Chile, and who also has a Ph.D. in Fruit Growing from Michigan State University (USA), has dedicated himself for many years to agrofruticultural research in Chile and the United States. That is why he will present a vision of the potentials of the RDCs in the production of blueberries.

The scientific contributions of the researcher have been of such relevance that his work has managed to transcend the borders of the southern country, to the point of becoming an international consultant on issues related to the production of fruits such as berries.

Dr. Retamales also has a broad profile as a university professor, which is why he has excelled as a professor of subjects such as Ecophysiology, deciduous fruit trees and minor fruit trees at the undergraduate level, and advanced fruit growing at the Master's level and scientific writing at the Doctorate.

RDC: Compounds and novelties

Several specialists have done various studies and tests to obtain more accurate information about the use of growth regulators in agriculture. And although there are discrepancies between one author and another, most agree on the urgency of knowing the objectives of what is sought to regulate a crop.

Such a statement is justified, in the first instance, and according to the experts, because there are three essential components in the application of RDC: 1) the compound or product to be used, 2) it is also necessary to know the concentration or dose, and finally 3) the time or moment of application throughout the development or phenology of the crop


Several scientific studies have allowed to establish some key points about phytohormones and their usefulness for the development of crops. It highlights the fact that they are produced internally by plants, and that low concentrations are enough for their effectiveness to be perceptible.

In the blueberry industry it has become an element of increasing use during the last years because many producers have understood the need to use them so that the crops are developed in the best possible way.

Various scientific sources agree that phytohormones have the ability to influence the harmonic growth of plants. They also highlight the fact that, thanks to phytohormones, the absorption of nutrients can be stimulated, tolerance to abiotic stress is improved, and even it is possible to increase the caliber of fruits, all of them essential aspects in an increasingly demanding industry.

A relevant aspect in the effectiveness of the RDC is related to the techniques of application of these compounds to plants. Many of the negative or unexpected effects of these substances are linked to a nonuniform distribution of the application within the canopy of the plants. Thus, the zones of the cup closest to the nozzles of the sprayer frequently receive overdoses of the product, while in those areas of the cup farthest from the sprayer receive insufficient doses to obtain the desired effects.

After reviewing the various studies conducted with RDC in blueberries, it is concluded that the use of these compounds can be a valuable tool in the management of blueberries to the extent that the plantations of this fruit species continue to expand to areas with limiting environmental conditions , as well as considering the growing demands of fruit quality by markets.

Paúl Rivas González - Blueberries Consulting

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