(370) In-row Plant Spacing Affects Early Season Fruit Yield of Strawberry Grown in a Winter, Annual Hill Production System

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  • 1 1University of Florida, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Wimauma, FL, 33598
  • 2 2California Strawberry Commission, Research and Education, Watsonville, CA, 95077-0269
  • 3 3Washington State University, Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Wenatchee, WA, 98801-1230

On standard two-row black polyethylene covered beds, `Camarosa', `Rosa Linda', and `Sweet Charlie' strawberry plants were grown at 23, 31, 38, or 46 cm within-row spacing during the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons at Dover, Fla. Ripe fruit were harvested twice weekly from December through March. The first 8 weeks of harvest was considered the early period; the late period consisted of all harvests after the first 8 weeks. The effect of spacing on early marketable yield was consistent across seasons and cultivars. The 23-cm spacing resulted in the highest marketable yield per unit area, followed by the 31-, 38-, and 46-cm spacing. The percentage of fruit that were small (unmarketable) was higher at the 23-cm spacing than at the wider spacings (40% vs. 35% or 36%), but spacing did not affect the percentage of fruit that were misshapen. For the late harvest period, a spacing effect on marketable yield occurred in 1998–99, but not in 1997–98. The 23-, 31-, and 38-cm spacings in 1998–99 resulted in similar late period yields, which were 15% to 21% higher than the yield resulting from the 46-cm spacing. These results indicate that marketable yields per plant during the late period were higher at the wider spacings.

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