An RCB (4 replicates - 4 m plots) planting of `Chandler' was established to test the effects of planting date and floating row covers (FRC) in a high density strawberry planting system under NJ conditions. Transplant “plugs” from runner tips were planted on a double row (0.5 m × 0.3 m) on a raised plastic mulch bed (1.5 m centers), with trickle irrigation. Treatments included: plant 9/18/91 w/FRC on 10/7/92; plant 9/18/91 w/FRC on 12/2/92; plant 9/18/91 w/noFRC; plant 10/7/91 w/noFRC; plant 9/14/92 w/FRC on 10/7/92; plant 9/14/92 w/noFRC. In 1992, `Chandler' yield increased with earlier planting date and earlier FRC application (range: 8,600 to 13,400 kg/ha). There were no significant differences in cull or fruit weight. In 1993, there were no significant differences in 2nd year yield for 1991 treatments (range: 19,198 to 20,531 kg/ha). However, the 1992 treatments again showed the benefit of FRC (range: 13,437 to 20,531 kg/ha) for improved first year production. One year old plots had significantly larger average fruit weight than two year plots (range: 10.3 to 13.7 g). Early planting date with early applied FRC was the best treatment, combining high yield and good fruit weight.
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