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Friday, August 01, 2008

Sweet Charlie Variety

Released in 1992 was named to honor Professor Charles M. Howard. Dr. Howard worked at the Dover Center from 1967 until his death in 1991. Sweet Charlie is complimentary to the principal cultivars now being grown in west central Florida. In taste tests conducted at he Gulf Coast Research & Education Center in Florida, the fruit was rated superior to that of Selva and Oso Grande for Flavor. The fruit had a higher concentration of sugars and vitamin C and lower acidity than fruit of Selva and Oso Grande. Summarizing the strengths of this variety, it is early fruiting, productive, resistant to anthracnose, and produces fruit with excellent flavor. Its major weakness is its susceptibility to Botrytis and Phomopsis fruit rot. The best way to minimize these rots is to apply protectant fungicides regularly, especially during periods of cloudy, humid conditions and warm weather. It may also be helpful to harvest every 2 or 3 days when daytime temperatures are in the 80's or night temperatures is the 60's. Other problems encountered include cat-faced fruit on the first "hand" of locally propagated plants; albino fruit on plants exposed to high levels of nitrogen fertilizer; cracking of fruit after a rain; and at times berries are produced on which the seeds rub off easily.

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