Strawberry Nursery Soil Fumigation and Runner Plant Production

in HortScience

Three preplant soil fumigation treatments were applied on 5 Apr. 1993 to a nursery site that had not been planted previously to strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.): 1) a mixture of 67 methyl bromide: 33 chloropicrin (CP) (by weight, 392 kg·ha–1) (MBCP); 2) 140 kg CP/ha; and 3) nonfumigation (NF). On 26 Apr., cold-stored `Chandler' and `Selva' strawberry plants of registered stock were established in each treatment. Soil and root/crown disease symptoms were absent in all treatments during the course of the study. In October, runner plants were machine-harvested and graded to commercial standards. The cultivars produced a similar number of runners per mother plant. Fumigation with MBCP, CP, and NF resulted in 18.56, 15.75, and 7.89 runners per mother plant, respectively. For `Selva', runner root and crown dry weights were similar for the MBCP and CP treatments, but NF resulted in significant reductions compared to the other two treatments. For `Chandler', fumigation with CP resulted in reduced root dry weight, and NF resulted in reduced crown and root dry weights compared to fumigation with MBCP. The results demonstrate the marked decreases in strawberry runner production and runner size that can occur in the absence of preplant soil fumigation, even on new strawberry ground. Also, small, but significant, reductions in runner production and runner size may occur with CP applied at a rate of 140 kg·ha–1 compared to standard fumigation with MBCP. Chemical name used: trichloronitromethane (chloropicrin).

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