Pretransplant Temperature Regime and Container Size Alter Strawberry Plant Morphology

in HortScience
Authors:
Eric B. BishHorticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690

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Daniel J. CantliffeHorticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690

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Craig K. ChandlerHorticultural Sciences Dept., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0690

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Containerized strawberry transplants offer an alternative to problematic bare-root transplants, which often have variability in flowering and vegetative vigor. Containerized transplants were propagated in three different container cell sizes (75, 150, and 300 cm3) and grown at two different temperature regimes for 2 weeks prior to planting (25/15 and 35/25°C day/night). Bare-root transplants from Massachusetts and Florida were graded into small, medium, and large plants based on crown size (8, 12, and 16 mm respectively). Plug transplants grown at 25/15°C had greater root dry weights than transplants grown at 35/25°C. Root imaging analysis (MacRHIZO) showed that the differences in dry weight were due to root area, not root tissue density. Crown dry weight increased with increasing cell size. Plug transplants grown at 25/15°C flowered earlier and had greater production than any other treatment. The 75 cm3 cell size grown at 35/25°C produced greater December strawberry production than larger cell sizes at the same temperature regime; however, the 75 cm3 cell size had decreased January strawberry production while the larger cell sizes had increased production. Larger plug cell sizes had significantly greater production than smaller plugs throughout the season, whereas larger bare-roots had greater production only early in the season. Containerized plug transplants therefore offers a viable alternative to problematic bare-root transplants.

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