Transplant Container Shape and Strawberry Transplant Growth

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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Bare-root strawberry transplants have been conventionally used for establishment of strawberry fruiting fields. These bare-root transplants have variability in vegetative vigor that results in irregular flowering patterns. We have been experimenting with a containerized transplant system to produce uniform transplants. Increasing transplant container volume by increasing perimeter, rather than depth, has resulted in increased plant size, but also increases transplant production costs. This study evaluated three container perimeters (17, 25, 32 cm) and three container shapes (circular, elliptical, and biconvex) such that different cell perimeters had the same greatest diameter. All containers had a depth of 3.5 cm. Root imaging analysis (MacRHIZOTM) was used to measure root growth in the container as well as root growth 3 and 6 weeks after transplanting. Increasing container perimeter led to increased plant growth before and after transplanting, but did not affect fruit production. Transplant container shape did not significantly alter plant growth or fruit production. Biconvex and elliptical containers required 25% and 15% less surface area, respectively. Therefore, a biconvex shaped container can be used to increase plant density during transplant propagation, decreasing surface area needed and reducing production costs.

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