Cultivar may cause variation in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonization levels leading to differences in shoot growth and runner formation, and in pathogen control in strawberries. However, a clear consensus has not been reached regarding the degree to which cultivar affects the formation of the symbiosis or its functioning. The study was conducted on four commercial strawberry farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin to compare, within a farm, mycorrhizal colonization and plant response among three strawberry cultivars: `Winona', `Anapolis' and `Jewel'. At each farm, two 6 × 6 meter plots of each cultivar were randomly selected. On each of three sampling dates, 4 whole plants and soil samples were collected from these plots in the 2003 field season. Roots were separated from shoots and leaves, and fresh and dry weights were taken. Leaves and soil were dried, weighed, and submitted for nutrient analysis. Soil nutrient analyses include phosphorus (Bray P), potassium, pH, buffer pH and organic matter. Leaf tissue analyses include P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, AL Fe, MN Zn, Cu, B, Pb, Ni, Cr, and Cd. Roots were collected, frozen, and prepared for scoring using methods adapted from Koske and Gemma (1989). Presence of mycorrhizal colonization is being scored using the methods of McGongle et al. (1990). Levels of mycorrhizal colonization among different strawberry cultivars will be compared. We will also use biomass measurements, to determine mycorrhizal effects on plant growth among different cultivars. Soil and leaf analysis data will be used to determine effects of AMF on plant nutrition and compare effects among cultivars.
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