Soil Fumigation and Runner Plant Production: A Synthesis of Four Years of Strawberry Nursery Field Trials

in HortScience

Strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa L.) runner plant production during a 4-year period was compared on nursery soils treated with methyl bromide (MB) and chloropicrin (CP) mixtures (MB:CP) and three alternative soil treatments: CP, mixtures of 1,3-dichloropropene (Telone®) and CP (DP:CP), and no fumigation (NF). The effect of soil treatment on runner plant production for a single nursery propagation cycle was determined in all 4 years. In 2 years, runner production in a final propagation cycle was also determined as a function of soil treatment in previous cycles. A single propagation cycle in NF soil decreased runner production relative to all other treatments. Treatments with CP at rates of 140 to 191 kg·ha–1 generally decreased runner production significantly (P ≤ 0.05) in comparison with treatment with MB:CP; use of CP at rates ≥303 kg·ha–1 resulted in statistically equivalent runner production. In one trial, use of two DP:CP formulations (516 kg·ha–1 of a 7:3 DP:CP mixture, and 448 kg·ha–1 of a 3:7 DP:CP mixture) significantly reduced and did not affect runner production, respectively, relative to the use of MB:CP. Use of MB:CP in the previous propagation cycle also increased runner productivity in comparison with NF. Runner productivity of planting stock produced with 314 kg·ha–1 of CP did not differ statistically from that of stock produced with MB:CP, but productivity of planting stock on soil treated with 157 kg·ha–1 of CP was intermediate between that on NF and MB:CP-treated soil. Planting stock grown on nontreated soil in two previous propagation cycles produced 25% fewer runner plants than did similar stock grown on MB:CP-treated soil. Productivity of planting stock produced with CP at rates of 280 to 314 kg·ha–1 in two previous propagation cycles did not differ statistically from that of stock produced with MB:CP. Results of meta-analyses indicated that fumigation with MB:CP was more effective in increasing runner production than was CP or NF, regardless of the propagation cycle or rate of application. For mixtures of 1,3-dichloropropene and CP, nursery productivity was maximized by using at least 280 kg·ha–1 of CP.

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Univ. of California South Coast Research and Extension Center, 7601 Irvine Blvd., Irvine, CA 92618.

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