STRAWBERRY FRUIT MALFORMATION AS A RESULT OF FROST INJURY

in HortScience
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  • 1 University of Maine, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, ME 04259

Frost injury on strawberry flowers (cv. Redchief) was studied in a field over two seasons. During the first season, a light frost during anthesis caused varying degrees of injury to blossoms. Five grades were assigned to the blossoms according to the degree of injury observed. The resulting fruit malformations correlated to the severity of blossom injury, ranging from no development (blossom death) when flower receptacles were completely black, to slight dimpling when only a portion of the receptacle had been discolored. During the second season, a colder frost occurring at the bud stage caused generally greater injury to the blossoms. The range of injury was less variable, therefore only three grades were assigned to the blossoms. The resulting fruit malformation again related to the intensity of blossom injury. Frost has long been understood to kill unprotected strawberry blossoms. This study has shown that nonfatal frost injury to strawberry blossoms can result in a variety of fruit malformations which previously may have been attributed to other causes.

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