The Use of Leaf Removal and Prohexadione-Ca to Modify `Camarosa' Strawberry Nursery Plant Morphology for Plasticulture Fruit Production

in HortScience
Authors:
Julia Reekie*Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Berry Crops Research, Kentville, Nova Scotia, B4N 1J5, Canada

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Peter HicklentonAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Berry Crops, Kentville, Nova Scotia, B4N 1J5, Canada

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John DuvalUniv. of Florida, Horticultural Science, Dover, FL 33527-9664, the Netherlands

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Craig ChandlerUniv. of Florida, Horticultural Science, Dover, FL 33527-9664, the Netherlands

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Paul StruikWageningen Univ., Dept. of Plant Sciences, Wageningen, 6709 RZ, the Netherlands

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Our previous work on modifying strawberry plant morphology used either mowing to remove the leaf laminas and part of the petioles on `Camarosa', or a new reduced-risk gibberellin synthesis inhibitor, Prohexadione-Ca (ProCa), to restrict cell elongation in `Sweet Charlie'. These early studies showed promising results in acheiving desirable plant size and increasing fruit yield in annual hill plasticulture. Therefore, in the growing seasons of 2001 and 2002, we used `Camarosa' to explore the possibility of combining mowing and ProCa as a means of modifying strawberry transplant morphology in the nurseries, and studied its effect on fruit production in annual hill plasticulture. Plants were mowed and treated with 62.5 μL·L-1 of ProCa in a nursery field in Nova Scotia (45°26'N, 63°27'W). Treatments consisted of either mowing, the application of ProCa, or a combination of mowing and ProCa on one of two dates, 5 or 19 Sept. ProCa application early in the growing season had increased the production of daughter plants in the nursery. All plants were harvested in early October, and immediately transplanted in Dover, Fla. (28°00'N, 82°22'W). Fruits were collected twice weekly from late November to February or March. At time of harvest, both mowing and ProCa reduced plant height and total leaf area; plants which were treated with ProCa and mowed were the shortest. On average, treated plants had higher fruit yield as compared to untreated plants. In 2001, early fruit production in December was increased significantly in treated plants.

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