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Online Blueberry Physiology, Production Systems & Management

Learn the fundamentals of blueberry plant physiology and growth, species and types grown and cultivar adaptation, planting establishment, production systems, and important pests to develop successful new plantings or improve the yield and production efficiency of existing planting in this online, instructor-led certificate program offered by Professional and Continuing Education at Oregon State University.

Within a collaborative, research- and experience-based curriculum and interaction with the instructor and peers through a discussion board, you will finish the course with a comprehensive knowledge of growing thriving bushes.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE: There are a limited number of scholarships available for the class. Download the Scholarship Application to get started.

 

Online Blueberry Course

The course is designed to start with development of an in-depth knowledge of blueberry plant physiology and how to grow a blueberry bush, boosting your understanding of how plants will respond to weather/climate, pests, and production practices.

In this expert-led online course, you will learn about:

  • Blueberry plant physiology and how they grow
  • Blueberry species & types and where different cultivars are adapted
  • Site selection and preparation
  • Planting design for hand and machine harvest
  • Irrigation system design and management
  • Organic amendments - the good and the bad
  • Mulches and impacts on weed management
  • Nutrient management before and after planting
  • Pruning from planting through maturity, considering harvest method and cultivar differences (videos will be used to highlight pruning plants of different ages and cultivars)
  • Methods of fruit harvesting
  • Physiological problems
  • Insects, diseases nematodes, and viruses - symptoms, life cycles, and tools for pest management

Each subsequent week we will build upon this information to provide practical knowledge on blueberry cultivars, planting design, establishment, production systems, pruning, and pests. You will engage with the instructor(s) and peers through the discussion board.

Training for Blueberry Farms

This course will be useful for new and established blueberry growers; small-to-large sized farms; and conventional and organic producers. The course is focused on the Pacific Northwestern USA and field grown northern highbush blueberry production, but much of the information should be applicable to many suitable production regions worldwide.

The target audience for this course is growers of small- to large-sized conventional or organic farms, crew leaders, farm managers, advisors, packers, shippers, and consultants.

The course is designed such that those new or well-versed in blueberry production will benefit. You will access 3 to 4 hours of lectures per week in this 6-week course. A new set of lectures will be available each week.

In addition to completing the course and interacting with peers and the instructors on a discussion board, you will need to complete one or more quizzes per week to receive your certificate of completion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any scholarships for this program?

There are a limited number of scholarships available for the class. Download the Scholarship Application to get started. You will be asked to submit the completed scholarship application form in the online registration form.

Will I have access to the course material after the course officially ends?

You will not be able to access the course in Canvas after the official end date. However, you can download and save some of the course material. All of the lectures are accompanied by PDF handouts, which can be saved or printed for later reference. Unfortunately, we cannot make the lecture videos available for you to download or save. The videos took considerable time and effort to prepare and if they were to end up on YouTube we would lose our market for new students and be unable to easily provide up-to-date materials.

Is this course available to those living outside of Oregon?

Yes, it is available to students worldwide. The content focuses on the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, but much of the information presented is applicable to other regions of the country and the world.

Free Blueberry Growing Resources

If you'd like to learn more about growing blueberries for greater yield, here are some great free resources from the OSU experts who created the Online Blueberry course:

calendar
Jan. 22 - Mar. 4, 2021
clock
18 to 25 hours of student time
location
Online
price (2)
$995 (+$60 registration fee)
Additional Information:
2.0 Units / 20 CEUs through the American Society of Agronomy

Complete the program and you'll earn a digital badge, which you can show off as an industry-leading credential!

Download Blueberry Physiology Syllabus

 “I am a new grower in Drain, OR, and highly recommend this course to everyone interested in becoming a blueberry farmer.  I believe even an experienced grower could derive useful information from this series of lectures.  It contains valuable information on selecting cultivars, and planting and maintaining a healthy, productive farm.  The lectures are informative and well presented.  I am so glad I decided to take this course – I have learned so much!  Well worth the time and cost!”

Paula Estill
Oregon

“A very well developed course, extremely happy to be able to participate!! Easy, clear, well explained and presented!!"

Emiliyan Atanasov
England

"Not only is the platform used to deliver the course very good but the course material is incredibly interesting, comprehensive and up to date."

Pam Fisher
Ontario, Canada

“The course provided a well-rounded and balanced overview on key aspects of highbush blueberry production.”

Lisa Wasko DeVetter
Washington State University

"I really appreciated this course and all the new things I learned. I hope that this class will help me better communicate with the people I manage why we take specific actions on the farm. I enjoyed all the different guest lecturers and all the research that was presented. I am going to encourage more people I work with to take this course when it is offered again."

Rob Bodtke
Michigan

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course. The presentations were easy to follow and flowed well from one to the next. For a new grower, the information is invaluable. Until now, it has proved difficult to find this much information in one place. Thanks again.”

Chris Brown
Washington

“I am an experienced blueberry grower who found this course extremely beneficial in helping me stay current in all aspects of growing blueberries. I would highly recommend this course.”

Harb Aujla
British Columbia, Canada

“Good value all round. I certainly gained a great deal of new insights and knowledge and I now feel a lot more confident in growing this high value crop. Thank you and compliments to all concerned for putting together a very practical course. Best wishes.”

Bep Pera
Horticulturist, Mountain Blue Farms, Australia

“As a new grower of Northern Highbush with just some limited knowledge of Southern Highbush, I was looking for a course to broaden my knowledge base. Throughout the 6 weeks of this course, I was able to attain some of the most basic of skills, to the more in-depth aspects of having a successful blueberry operation. I will highly recommend this course to my employees and new growers coming into the industry!”

Phil Jennings
Georgia

“My first job in 1963 was picking Blueberries on a blueberry farm in Bellevue, WA. I worked my way through college with this job. Now having recently purchased a small blueberry farm this course has provided me with the knowledge to begin successfully operating this farm. A lot has changed since then and this course has been invaluable to me.”

Jim Stanton
Washington

“This course is very well suited for taking you from either a complete novice or beginner in Blueberries to a well-informed grower or adviser. It provides a sound foundation, with some more advanced knowledge to encourage your further learning.   Added to this is the benefit of access to the lecturers and their years of experience, a very valuable asset.” 

Dane Castle
South Africa

“I really enjoyed doing this course. I found that sitting down and doing each week in one session and then the test, was the best way for me. If it was not for OSU and mainly Professor Strik, we would not grow good blueberries here in the Fraser Valley. She has been an abundant amount of wealth and knowledge for us growers here. Very clear in all her explanations! Thank you very much for this course!” 

Bill Van Oosterom
British Columbia, Canada

“This course provides an overview of blueberries focusing on the PNW region and high-chill blueberry varieties.  The instructors are extremely knowledgeable and provide insights.  There are definitely nuggets of information that even an experienced person may not have considered.  The course access, pace and materials are great.  I thought it would be difficult to manage this course load and other commitments but materials can be accessed when convenient.”

Blueberry Student

“I can fully recommend the course to all who are new to the blueberry business. You get all the information that you need to start your adventure, it will make it so much easier for you. The knowledge is applicable universally - I work in Poland, Europe!”

Blueberry Student

Instructors

Bernadine Strik
Professor of Horticulture and Extension Berry Crops Specialist

Dr. Strik has over 30 years of experience in research, teaching, and educational programs for commercial growers and home gardeners at OSU. Her research areas of focus include whole plant physiology, improving yield and quality, machine harvest efficiency, pruning, optimization of production systems, plant nutrition, and organic production systems in all berry crops. Bernadine belongs to many professional organizations and holds or has held many leadership positions. She has published over 200 scientific papers and many Extension materials and book chapters on berry crop production and physiology. Her educational and research programs are world renowned and she has received many awards for her achievements. Bernadine was elected a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science, their highest honor, in 2007 and in 2014 she received the OSU Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award.

Chad Finn

Dr. Chad Finn was the berry crop breeder at the USDA-ARS Horticultural Crops Research Unit in Corvallis, OR from 1993 until he passed away on December 17, 2019. The berry crop breeding program has been run collaboratively with OSU for over 100 years and has focused on developing berry crop cultivars for the Pacific Northwest industry; collecting, evaluating, and incorporating new useful germplasm from around the world into its breeding material; and working with genomicists to develop tools that will enhance the efficiency of the breeding program. Chad’s small fruit breeding program was nationally and internationally recognized and he released 51 blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry cultivars and published over 200 research publications along with 30 book chapters and 38 extension publications over his 26 year career. Chad received Purdue University’s Department of Horticulture Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006; received the USDA-ARS’s National award for Superior Technology Transfer in 2009; was elected an ASHS Fellow in 2010; received ASHS’s Outstanding Cultivar Award in 2012; and was awarded the American Pomological Society’s Wilder Medal Award for outstanding service to horticulture in 2013.

David Bryla

Dr. David Bryla is a Research Horticulturist at the USDA-ARS HCRU. He has over 25 years of experience in plant nutrition and water relations and has conducted studies on many different crops, including apples, peaches, citrus, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, peppers, onions, garlic, safflower, and wheat. His current research is focused on the water management of berry crops for irrigation, fertigation, frost protection, and evaporative cooling. He engages with stakeholders from the small fruit industry, as well as with the irrigation and fertilizer industries.

Dr. Walton

Dr. Walton works on economically important pests, with the aim to provide environmentally sustainable and minimal impact pest management strategies for agriculturalists. We use multiple techniques in a whole-system approach to obtain sustainable means of production. In order to obtain this goal, new knowledge obtained from detailed insect physiological, biological, behavioral, ecological and environmental studies are used. This knowledge is then used to apply treatments timed to occur during periods when pests are at their most vulnerable. These control strategies have historically focused on biological control, mating disruption and conventional synthetic pesticides.

Jay W. Pscheidt

Jay W. Pscheidt received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. Since 1988 he has been a professor at Oregon State University as an Extension Plant Pathology Specialist. His principal duties are to lead a statewide extension program related to the diagnosis and management of diseases of all fruit, nut, and ornamental/nursery crops. He is also co-editor of regional publication The Pacific Northwest Plant Disease Management Handbook.

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.