Performance of Californian and Eastern U.S. Strawberry Cultivars under Conditions Mimicking Eastern Production Systems

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI 48823

Twenty-one western and 13 eastern strawberry [Fragaria × ananassa (Duch.)] cultivars were grown in a polyethylene-covered greenhouse (polyhouse) in deep beds at either 10 × 10 or 25 × 25 cm spacing. Runners were removed weekly from the closest-spaced plants (hills), and the more open-spaced plants were allowed to set four runners on each side of the mother plant before the runners were removed (matted rows). Temperatures were allowed to fluctuate normally in the polyhouse, except that winter temperatures were maintained above 0C. The average yield of eastern and western cultivars did not differ significantly in most comparisons, but the average fruit weight of the Californian cultivars was significantly higher than the eastern ones, and Californian cultivars allocated a higher proportion of their biomass to reproduction. Nonbearing plants of eastern and western cultivars produced similar numbers of runners per plant and daughters per runner. There was no significant relationship between CO2 assimilation rate and yield. Interbreeding eastern cultivars with the most productive western genotypes might result in increased yields, but only if the higher reproductive efforts of the western types can be captured and transferred.

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