Lighter pruning may be sufficient for container-grown stock. Without a doubt most places in Texas are perfect for several varieties of Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberrries, Bananas, Grapes, and the right fruit trees of all kinds. Apply a layer of mulch 4 to 6 inches deep over an area of 2 feet or more outward from the plant crown. The bush is vigorous and very productive. Varietals: Brazos blackberries are some of the most commonly grown in Texas and have a tart flavor that blossoms when cooked. Rabbiteye … The best time to plant blueberry plants is in the late winter or early spring. These same growing techniques should be used when growing other acidic-loving plants such as azaleas, camellias and gardenias in alkaline soil areas. The best blueberry for Texas is the rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei). 5 Aggies missing out on CFP Dallas County reports 30 COVID-19 deaths, 1,143 new cases; Tarrant logs 960 cases, 13 deaths Honestly, this plant needs to be set into highly acidic soil outdoors immediately. Among those types, there are specific cultivars with low chill requirements that perform better in Florida than in other southern states. Leave the soil level an inch or so down from the lip of the container. Space the plants at least 6 feet apart in rows that are at least 12 feet apart. The plants should be planted in a well-draining whiskey barrel size (20-30 gallon) container. Growing Acid Loving Plants and But once they get going, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious harvest. Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries, huckleberries and Madeira blueberries. In most Texas locations, the harvest season extends from May through July, depending on the varieties grown. The plantings often fail because of the complexities of soil chemistry. Before setting out the plants, thoroughly incorporate ¼ to ½ bushel of organic matter per plant at each planting spot. The varieties that need the fewest chill hours typically bloom and set fruit early; they are most likely to be injured. … Urea-N fertilizers are less acidifying with repeated use. The pot should drain well, and no saucer should be placed under the pot to ensure thorough drainage. Read more about pruning and growing blueberries . The fruit on these bushes is a bit acidic, which makes it great for canning and baking. The soil pH should ideally be between 4.0 and 5.0; soil that isn’t acidic enough will stunt growth. Rabbiteye blueberries are calcifuges—plants that do not tolerate alkaline soil or water. Plant one tree for a sweet summer treat, or plant a tiny orchard so you can share your bounty with the neighborhood. A successful strategy in many areas is pick-your-own blueberry marketing. Buy them from a reputable nursery. Fertilizing blueberry plants. A soilless peat-base mix should be disease and weed-free, retain adequate moisture after watering yet is well-drained and lightweight. Essentially you will have created an "acid bog" with peat-base potting mix to assure good growth. A mature bush can produce 15 lbs of berries. Blueberries are a very popular fruit in the United States because of their unique flavor, small edible seeds, and ease of preparation. Normally our soil is about 7.8 to 8.2 Ph. It's best to grow blueberries in an area where water is readily available so you can keep their roots moist throughout the growing season. Water large plants thoroughly once per week rather than daily and keep a deep layer of mulch around the plants. Normally our soil is about 7.8 to 8.2 Ph. Check the moisture level of the mix with your finger before watering, i.e., water the mix, not the plant. There are no cost-effective methods of removing calcium from water. When rabbiteye blueberries are plant-ed in an unsuitable soil or irrigated with unsuitable water, the fungi usually die, ... tive and most commonly used nitrogen fertilizer for blueberries in Texas is ammonium sulfate (21-0-0). Ideally, when you pour water around the base of a plant, water should soon be coming out of the bottom of the container. Professors and Extension Horticulturists, Texas Cooperative Extension. Soil and climate Rabbiteye blueberries are calcifuges—plants that do not toler-ate alkaline soil or water. Blueberries tower to 15 feet tall and 10 feet across. When rabbiteye blueberries are planted in an unsuitable soil or irrigated with unsuitable water, the fungi usually die, and the blueberry plant exhibits many symptoms of nutritional deficiencies. Since, few of us will have soil which will be conducive to blueberry culture in the soil, we will assume that all will grow them in containers. Highest Quality Plants at the Lowest Prices. Elemental sulfur is the best and easiest way to lower soil pH. Most of the fruit grown in Texas is picked by hand and sold for fresh consumption. Immediately water the pot thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate any air gaps around the plant's roots. Texas Fruit and Nut Production: Blueberries, Blackland Income Growth Virtual Conference, Ranchers Agricultural Leasing Workshop: Online course, Connecting Agriculture and Health – From the Ground Up: online, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc8xY2YuOfM. Check the fertilizer package to determine the form of nitrogen that it contains. The soil mix is compost/manure with a healthy dose of perlite and two to four inches of pine bark mulch. They will not thrive unless the soil pH is in the range of 4.0 to 5.5. Figure 3. Water Consistently . Organic and slow-release synthetic fertilizers are preferable for this reason. Broadcast the fertilizer evenly around the plant, avoiding concentrations of fertilizer in small areas. Blueberry plants can get large, over ten feet in height and width! 7). Our work makes a difference, in the lives of Texans and on the economy. By : Monte Nesbitt, Jim Kamas, and Larry Stein. Because they require acid soils, use a quality potting soil mixed with 1/3 sphagnum peat moss. You can plant your own wildflowers in your backyard, in an unused field on your property or along the roadside in front of your home. Choose varieties that have a chill requirement within 150 hours (above or below) of the average chilling for your growing area. Click for a hub of Extension resources related to the current COVID-19 situation. per plant in the summer of the planting year. Keep your starter trays between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a germination mat if daytime temperatures are below 60 F. Once your seedlings reach about 2 inches, you can thin them out and transplant into a … Blueberry bushes need to be planted as early in the spring as possible. When it comes to growing a steady supply of delicious fresh fruit, its hard to beat the harvesting rewards that come from planting blueberry bushes. Check the pH of the soil in spring and add sulphur chips if it needs lowering. Commercial growers may also need to protect the plants with irrigation sprinklers, row cover material, or plastic-covered high tunnel greenhouses. As the trees begin to age and form thick, gray branches, begin thinning about 20 percent of the branches at ground level every year. The best type for gardeners living in most of Texas are the rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei), native to the southern United States. Dig holes about 20 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Regardless of how wonderful you think your soil is, when soil is put in a container it loses many of its beneficial qualities. When To Plant Blueberries In A Desert Climate. You can plant blueberry bushes as close as 2 or 2.5 feet apart to form solid hedgerows, or space them up to 6 feet apart so they grow individually. Head back (thin out) the lower limbs to keep the fruit from touching the soil. The half whiskey barrels or 20 - 30 gallon size containers are your best bet. Have the soil tested before planting and every third or fourth year thereafter to determine whether it needs other nutrients. 2). Pioneer Woman, Blueberries are … Lower limbs can be thinned out to keep the fruit from touching the soil, and excessively vigorous upright shoots can be thinned out several feet from the ground to keep the center of the bush open and to keep the bearing surface within reach. If a water-tight container is being used, drainage holes will have to be drilled. Most rabbiteye blueberry varieties need a pollenizer variety planted nearby to produce the maximum amount of fruit. The date that the flowers appear is affected by the number of hours below 45°F that an area receives in a year, or chill hours, and warming spring, weather. A pH of 4.0 to 5.0 is ideal. Do not use barnyard manure, which has a high salt content. If you feel moisture with your finger DO NOT WATER; more plants are killed by over watering than by being too dry. Adequate drainage is a key to success. Birds seem to be the key wildlife competitors for the delicious fruit. The term Aggie Horticulture® and associated logos are registered trademarks of theTexas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System. Tifblue rabbiteye blueberries require little pruning. That’s the time when the blueberry plant is dormant. Elsewhere, they would have to be grown in highly amended soils that consist of 100% organic matter. Set bare-root or container-grown plants at the same depth at which they grew in the nursery, and water them soon after planting. Plant them 6 to 8 feet apart in sun or morning-sun/afternoon shade. Avoid fertilizers that contain nitrate forms of nitrogen, which may slow plant growth. Regular soil testing will also track changes in pH that could reduce growth and production. It helps acidify the soil,control weeds, conserve soil moisture, and moderate soil temperatures. Higher chill varieties may not yield well if grown in areas that do not receive enough chill hours (Fig. Austin Blueberry Plant : Shipping Time:: In-Stock for Immediate Shipment. Plant berries now and enjoy their sunny flavor this summer. Water is especially important in summer. From trailing dewberries in Central and South Texas to huckleberries in the acid soils of East Texas, there are many adaptive berries for the erratic, and environmentally-challenging growing … Texas is indeed a land of berries. Before setting out the plants, thoroughly incorporate ¼ to ½ bushel of organic matter per plant at each planting spot. In areas where the ground freezes in winter, spring and fall are ideal planting times. Tags: gardening, blueberry plants, fruit, Texas Pioneer Woman, The Benefits of Blueberries Blueberries are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. The fruit of the Tifblue variety will ripen over a 4 to 6 week period. For more information on soil testing, see Testing Your Soil: How to Collect and Send Samples, available at https://agrilifebookstore.org. Water plants with rainwater, not tap water, unless you have no alternative in a drought. They grow easily in this area, but the bushes are not particularly attractive landscaping plants. 4). Use a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants, such as an … Rabbiteyes are an excellent choice for organic or Earth- Kind® orchards, because they have few serious pests, need little fertilization, and are native to the southeastern United States. This funny expression-- pH -- is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration in the soil solution or simply put, whether the soil is acid (less than 7.0) or alkaline (7.1 and above). Another critical key to successful blueberry production is sunlight. Ask your local garden center for fertilizer … Texas soils vary tremendously from site to site, and deficiencies in other macro- and micronutrients can hinder blueberry production. The pot should drain well, and no saucer should be placed under the pot to ensure thorough drainage. When to Plant Blackberries in Texas. 6). For container-grown bushes, plant them about 1 inch deeper than they were in the nursery pot. Visit these websites for further information about growing rabbiteye blueberries: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu http://www.extension.org/blueberries, Download a printer-friendly version of this publication: Texas Fruit and Nut Production: Blueberries. The rabbit eye varieties need between 350 to 650 chill hours and the southern high bush need between 150 to 400 hours. The irrigation water for blueberries must have little to no calcium bicarbonate. Doing your homework before you plant is important, but especially so when you want to grow a plant with specific cultural requirements such as blueberries. From trailing dewberries in Central and South Texas to huckleberries in the acid soils of East Texas, there are many adaptive berries for the erratic, and environmentally-challenging growing conditions of our large state. Visit our planting blueberries section for more tips on how to plant blueberry bushes. Light-textured soils (sands) hold less water and dry out more quickly; for them, irrigate more often and for shorter periods. Blueberries need lots of water, but they also like sandy, well-draining soil. For bare-root plants, spread the roots out into a prepared hole, then cover them with soil amended with organic material. When to Plant Blueberries. The berry which comes to mind is the blueberry. This rate should put the annual nitrogen application at or near 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre per year for orchards with 605 bushes per acre. Blueberries are delightful fresh from the garden, but the Native American shrubs only produce if the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 C.) for a sufficient number of days every year. Because rabbiteyes ripen unevenly within a fruit- ing cluster, pick individual berries over a period of 4 to 6 weeks (Fig. They are easy to freeze by laying them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Recent research indicates that such a gradient in materials actually impedes drainage. Blueberry juice also contains a compound that prevents bacteria from anchoring themselves to the bladder, thereby helping to prevent urinary tract infections. Dig a hole that's twice as wide as the container and the same depth. In low, flat areas, raise the beds to direct surface water away from the plants. Replicate the natural setting of an acid soil and watch the tiny seedlings emerge. Larry Stein, Jim Kamas & Jerry Parsons This not only indicates proper drainage but also enables leaching of fertilizer salts which, if accumulated, can damage a blueberry plant's roots. If the plants are well watered and appear to be thriving, apply ½ to 1 ounce of 21-0-0 fertilizer per plant in the summer of the planting year. Do not fertilize newly planted blueberry plants with nitrogen until the plants have established. – As blueberries and other summer fruits begin to grow out of season, gardeners may be looking for ways to extend the growing season. . In order to be successful, blueberries need a low Ph soil, between 4.5 and 5.5, like azaleas. Three months before planting new blueberries, use glyphosate herbicide to kill all the grass and weeds in the row, and cultivate the soil to loosen tight areas. Some growers have tried to grow rabbiteyes on alkaline soils by lowering the soil pH with acidic A major constituent of the fiber is pectin, known for its ability to lower blood cholesterol. The bush will consist of many trunks that develop from the crown (base). Our soil is too alkaline to support this plant. The soil in our area is most often alkaline and can test as high as 8.0 on the pH scale. However, Tifblue has been shown to be self-fruitful and is the most universally outstanding rabbiteye blueberry grown to date. When and How to Plant Blueberries. Simply put, it is because of the potential to produce an acceptable amount of fruit on a containerized plant with very few pest problems. Blueberries for Texas Drs. With proper management, commercial blueberry plantings in Texas can yield from 5,000 to 9,000 pounds per acre per year. Even if the rabbiteye did not produce berries, the plants make an attractive container plant for your patio. Start by digging planting holes to twice the size of the planting container. The initial spring watering should be relatively light; once in full growth, give 1-year-old plants about ½ gallon per day. Rabbiteye blueberry varieties differ in ripening date, productivity, and fruit size, with some bearing from dime-to nickel-size fruit. Spindly, weak, or dead branches should be thinned out annually during the dormant season. Soil can be acidified by mixing a small amount of granulated sulfur into the soil several months before planting. Use some sort of organic mulch such as spaghum peat moss but avoid the manures since most are alkaline and salty. They are relatively easy to grow when given acid soils and the right growing climate. As emphasized earlier, the well-drained soilless peat-base mix--necessary for good aeration--needs frequent watering. Their popularity is growing because of the fruit’s high concentration of antioxidants, which are thought to help prevent cancer and heart disease. So If you live in a state where summer days start in the upper 70s and go up from there, you would do best to buy your berries instead! Late spring frosts can occasionally damage rabbiteye flowers. Blueberries may be harvested by hand or by machine. “The harvest season can extend from late May to August, depending on the number of varieties planted.” Rabbiteye blueberries need occasional pruning. They are relatively easy to ... Where is the best place to plant blueberry bushes? The date that the flowers appear is affected by the number of hours below 45°F that an area receives in a year, or chill hours, and warming spring weather. Enter your e-mail address to download the notebook and receive my "Weekly Garden E-mail" on Fridays, periodic updates on garden resources relevant to you, and get access to a bank of free … Posted By: TIMG 11343 Views growing blueberries, how to grow blueberries, how to plant blueberries, mulching blueberries, planting blueberries. southeast Texas. A few varieties, such as tifblue, are somewhat self-fruitful (Fig. Step 2. Once the berries begin to ripen they should be picked every 3 to 5 days. A soilless peat-base mix which drains rapidly should be used. You can plant blueberry bushes as close as 2 or 2.5 feet apart to form solid hedgerows, or space them up to 6 feet apart so they grow individually. Blueberries take a little extra work than planting, say, oregano. Blueberries may produce satisfactory yields if planted in containers or raised beds with mixtures of peat moss and pine bark. Soils can become too acidic over time if fertilized with ammo-nium sulfate. Instead of one high-dosage feeding, apply fertilizer two or three times a year at low rates. Set bare-root or container-grown plants at the same depth at which they grew in the nursery, and water them soon after planting. This type of rooting deficiency cannot be corrected by adding these nutrients. A 4-year-old Tifblue blueberry plant early in the ripening period. Texas is indeed a land of berries. 12/8/2012 2:49:21 PM. Lighter pruning may be sufficient for container-grown stock. A mature, healthy rabbiteye blueberry plant can potentially produce 10 to 15 pounds of fruit per year! Soils can become too acidic over time if fertilized with ammonium sulfate. The most effective and most commonly used nitrogen fertilizer for blueberries in Texas is ammonium sulfate (21-0-0). Also thin out any overly vigorous upright shoots several feet from the ground to keep the center of the bush open and to keep the bearing area within reach. Brazos Blackberries. Come spring, your blueberry plant will ‘spring’ to life and you’ll have all sorts of beautiful green leaves sprout! They are best planted in the spring before summer’s heat has set in. Not only do the plants require full sunlight when they are planted, but also as they continue to grow. Once frozen, they can be put in a freezer bag for easy storage. This cultivar is also drought- and heat-tolerant, making the rabbiteye blueberry an excellent cultivar to plant. Rabbiteye blueberries can reach 12-14 feet; Southern highbush types are in the 5- to 8-foot range. The water needs for most berries are a bit much for hotter, drier climates like Texas. Blueberries prefer light soils rather than heavy clays. Young plants growing in cool weather may require watering only once every two or three days. are establishing. 3). 1), and the berries are easily marketed. If the plants do not grow vigorously, wait until the second season to fertilize. Tap water will raise the pH level and blueberries like acidic conditions. Sure there are some insects and diseases which bother these plants, but if the plants are maintained in a healthy state of growth, few if any pest applications will be needed and a good quantity of fruit will still be produced. 2). Choose one of these three species to suit your climate: Lowbush blueberry (V. angustifolium) is the hardiest for Zones 3 to 6. Or maybe next summer. This blackberry variety was developed at Texas A&M back in 1950. So now you know the "secrets" of successfully producing one of the most delicious and health-giving fruits, blueberries, in regions which were previously considered off-limits to these acidic soil loving delicacies. “This protects the seed from being eaten by birds or ‘baked’ by the sun. Instead, they depend entirely on a fungus that acts as root hairs for the plant. So, to answer your question, yes, you can grow blueberries in Houston and surrounding areas. Planting Blueberries Blueberries prefer a sunny location with fertile, well-drained, acid soil (pH 4.5 to 5.5) amended with organic matter. Some growers have tried to grow rabbiteyes on alkaline soils by lowering the soil pH with acidic media or fertilizers. by late spring frosts. As plants grow larger, more watering is required because water is being absorbed and transpired. However, blackberry thorns and the biennial nature of the plants makes even them a challenge in a small landscape setting. Because of their acid-forming properties, shredded pine bark and peat moss are good sources of organic matter to use with blueberries. However, drip irrigation should be provided in these soils because the plants are not drought tolerant. The good thing about growing blueberries in Texas is that there is a rabbiteye variety that is suitable for every county, making this plant a great addition to your garden or farm wherever you are. Choose varieties that have a chill requirement within 150 hours (above or below) of the average chilling for your growing area. This species requires an acid/sandy soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. Blueberries are relatively small plants and can be protected with plant covers if bird or insect pests become a problem. The plant provides nourishment for the fungi called mychorrhizae. ; Rosborough blackberries, with their signature sweetness, are perfect for eating fresh off the stem. Heavy duty coasters can be attached to the bottom of the containers before potting mix is added to allow ease of movement even though blueberries will not have to be protected from cold weather--they require cold weather in order to fruit. Growing Acid Loving Plants In South Central Texas. A mature rabbiteye blueberry plant … Yield varies, of course, with the age and size of the plant. For the best development possible of rabbiteye blueberries bushes, plant them in the absolute sunniest place possible and in a region where they won't be crippled by late spring frosts. Beginning the second year after planting, fertilize the plants with 21-0-0 at a rate of 1 ounce per year of plant age, up to a maximum of 8 ounces per plant per year for those 8 years old or older. Blueberries may be harvested by hand or by machine. The fruits are large, light blue and ripen late in the season. . Blueberry plants should be spaced in a row about 4 to 5 feet apart; adjacent rows should be spaced 9 to 10 feet apart, which will provide plenty of room for harvesting. The main fruit-attacking insect is the blueberry maggot. Mulch is vital for growing blueberries, especially during the first 2 years of establishment. Appropriate mulches include peat moss, pine straw, pine bark, leaves, and grass clippings (Fig. Ensure the soil stays at pH of 5.5 or lower, to avoid problems. Can blueberries grow in zone 8? Blueberries also require good-quality water with low sodium and bicarbonates. Blueberries are adapted to East Texas. Winter is the best time to plant blueberry shrubs in a mild, Mediterranean climate. Blueberry plants in garden centers lure us in with bell shaped flowers or especially if already setting fruit. They will not thrive unless the soil pH is in the range of 4.0 to 5.5. One addendum, I'm growing highbush blueberries in 20-inch diameter plastic containers for about five years. ; Preferred soil: Sandy soil, at least … Blueberry trees typically are planted in the spring. Do not fertilize newly planted blueberry plants with nitrogen until the plants have established. You’ll want to choose the best types of blueberries for zone 8 as well as the best cultivars when you start growing blueberries in zone 8. When to Plant Blueberry Bushes Blueberries can be planted in spring or also in late fall in all but coldest regions. If available, 1- to 3-year-old plants are a good choice. . ; Brison blackberries have a similar taste to the Brazos but produce larger fruit and grow best in the black-clay soil of Central Texas. The blueberry plant (Vaccinium species) offers small white flowers in spring, glossy green leaves in summer, and spectacular crimson foliage in fall. Most home growers purchase cuttings, but did you know that blueberry seed planting will result in a plant as well? Still the production of blueberries has a few challenges of its own. C hilling your blueberry seeds prior to planting will enhance their germination rate and help ensure a successful outcome. A chill hour is defined as an hour that the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 C.) Tifblue is more cold hardy than most rabbiteye blueberries varieties and receives adequate chilling (cold temperatures) to fruit as far south as Pleasanton, Texas. When rabbiteye blueberries are planted in an unsuitable soil or irrigated with unsuitable water, the fungi usually die, and the blueberry plant exhibits many symptoms of nutritional deficiencies. Blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits around. Have the soil pH tested before planting. Rabbiteye blueberries can be grown successfully in whiskey barrel sized pots in Central Texas. Plant the blueberries into the containers at the same level they were in their nursery containers. These 8- to 18-inch-tall plants … They are relatively easy to grow and maintain with just a few simple requirements. When considering drainage holes, the old saying, "The more, the merrier" definitely applies. Planting a blueberry tree is a matter of first choosing the right type of plant for the specific geographic region in which it will live. Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory, Texas A&M College of Agrculture and Life Sciences, Rabbiteyes bloom in the spring. Don’t plant blueberries in sites that have heavy, clayey soils that stay wet. . Blueberries are adapted to East Texas. If you want to plant blueberries but you don't know where to start, this FREE 6-step Blueberry Planting Workbook will give you everything you need to know to get started growing your own blueberries! Plant. Blueberries thrive in 100 percent peat moss, so there is no limit to the amount you can use and if you are doubtful about the pH of the potting mix you plan to use, simply add more peat moss. Some weeds will grow through the mulch;remove them by hand or with a contact herbicide targeted to grass. One may be surprised as to why we would recommend such an exacting, low soil pH plant for planting across a state which only has a small amount of such soil, which is mainly in East Texas. This type of rooting deficiency cannot be corrected by adding these nutrients. Rabbiteyes bloom in the spring. To ensure that each variety is pollinated, choose pollinizers that bloom in the same part of the season as the main variety being grown (Table 1). Blueberries are cold weather plants and need a few months of freezing to break the seed dormancy. Once your blueberry plants are established, they will respond well to acid fertilizers such as rhododendron or azalea formulations. It is grown commercially in East Texas, where the humid woodlands are typical of native rabbiteye blueberry habitat. Plant berries now and enjoy their sunny flavor this summer. Video of the Day Volume 0% Blueberries are relatively easy to look after. Most plants reach mature size in 7 to 8 years, when they will be 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Minimum is eight to ten hours of direct (not filtered) sunlight a day. of their acid-forming properties, shredded pine bark and peat moss are good sources of organic matter to use with blueberries. Do not plant blueberries on heavy clay soils that have poor internal drainage, which will cause root decline and poor vigor. There are two main types of blueberries that grow well in Florida: the southern highbush and rabbiteye. Most of the fruit grown in Texas is picked by hand and sold for fresh consumption. Good times to fertilize rabbiteyes are late winter to early budbreak (the beginning of bud growth) and early summer after harvest is complete. They are classified in the section Cyanococcus within the genus Vaccinium. Keep the compost or soil moist, but not soaking wet. Garden stores may have blueberry bushes ready for planting in early spring and in summer. Berries tend to bear fruit at temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees. Soak knife blade for five minutes in a solution of 1 part household bleach and 3 parts of water. 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