Strawberry Cultivar Responses to Variations in Planting Time, Stock, and Mulches

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  • 1 USDA/ARS Fruit Lab, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705

The cultivars Allstar, Honeoye, Kent, and Jewel yielded the most successful summer and subsequent spring crops when planted in mid-July from dormant, cold-stored, multiple-crowned, nursery mother plants. Summer fruit sizing during very high temperatures was a problem; fruit number and quality was not. In a second hot year, the same cultivars did not give satisfactory summer crops when planted after late July. The return spring crop was most successful following planting in July rather than August or September, though there was a significant cultivar × planting date interaction for a number of characters. Nursery mother plants were more productive than first daughter plants. `Tristar' outyielded `Seascape' on black poly-mulched beds but not on killed vetch sod beds. `Allstar' runnered freely and produced good crops on three types of raised bed killed sod mulches and on red, blue, and silver-painted black poly raised bed mulches. Compared to the summer-planted, black, poly-mulched standard, `Mohawk' had increased but later yields, when the poly was painted blue, red, or silver, and much later yields, when mulched with recycled paper or wood fiber. The silver and paper treatments depressed fruit size. The wood fiber mulch seems promising for deliberately delaying ripening by lowering soil temperatures under the mulch. Seedling and selection plantings have generally responded favorably to summer planting from potted or “plug” plant stocks on unfumigated soil, thus, shortening the selection and evaluation cycles, with accompanying savings in land, water, fertilizer, and pesticide use.

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