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Daniel Rowley, Brent L. Black, Dan Drost, and Dillon Feuz

growing season earlier into the spring, direct market-oriented producers are better able to attract new customers, maintain current customers, and take advantage of higher out-of-season prices. June-bearing strawberries in an annual hill production

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Daniel Rowley, Brent L. Black, Dan Drost, and Dillon Feuz

stop growing ( Galletta and Bringhurst, 1990 ). Fall-planted June-bearing cultivars in an annual hill production system have proven effective for focusing fruit production in the early spring ( Black et al., 2002 ; Poling, 1993 ; Stevens et al., 2011

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Julia Reekie*, Peter Hicklenton, John Duval, Craig Chandler, and Paul Struik

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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Matthew D. Stevens, Judith A. Abbott, John D. Lea-Cox, and Brent L. Black

Three cold-climate strawberry production systems, conventional matted row, advanced matted row, and cold-climate annual hill plasticulture, were compared for consumer preference in a pick-your-own (PYO) setting. Replicated 6 × 15 m plots were established in 2002 in Maryland and cropped in 2003 and 2004. To simulate PYO marketing, volunteers were recruited to harvest 3.6-m plots in each of the three production systems and to complete a five-part questionnaire. The questionnaire collected demographic information and allowed volunteers to compare the three systems both prior to and after their harvesting experience. Harvests were carried out twice weekly, with 75 participants in 2003 and 45 participants in 2004. The 2003 season was cool and wet, with frequent rainfall and a high incidence of fruit rot. Spring 2004 was unseasonably hot, resulting in an unusually short harvest season. Consumer preference differed between years and among harvests within a season. The annual hill system was favored early in the 2003 season, with preference shifting to the other systems as the season progressed. The advanced matted row was favored early in the 2004 season. Many of the participants' comments, both positive and negative, were directed at the plastic mulch and raised beds. In several cases, participants indicated that their preferences after picking from each system did not match their initial impressions. Implications of this research to the social components of sustainability will be discussed.

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E. E. Albregts, C. M. Howard, and C. K. Chandler

During 2 seasons, defoliated and non-defoliated strawberry plants were evaluated for their fruiting response using the annual hill cultural system in Dover, FL. Partially dormant Canadian grown `Chandler' and non-dormant locally grown FL breeding line 79-1126 were grown the first season. Locally grown `Dover' was added the second season. Total yields of all clones were reduced with foliage removed. Monthly yields were reduced the first season with FL 79-1126 defoliated plants, but only the April yield of defoliated `Chandler' was reduced. December, January, March, and total yields of defoliated plants from all clones were reduced the second season. Average seasonal fruit weight was reduced the second season with locally grown defoliated plants. During the second season the percent marketable fruit of `Chandler' and FL 79-1126 was greater with the defoliated plants.

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E. E. Albregts, C. M. Howard, and C. K. Chandler

During 2 seasons, defoliated and non-defoliated strawberry plants were evaluated for their fruiting response using the annual hill cultural system in Dover, FL. Partially dormant Canadian grown `Chandler' and non-dormant locally grown FL breeding line 79-1126 were grown the first season. Locally grown `Dover' was added the second season. Total yields of all clones were reduced with foliage removed. Monthly yields were reduced the first season with FL 79-1126 defoliated plants, but only the April yield of defoliated `Chandler' was reduced. December, January, March, and total yields of defoliated plants from all clones were reduced the second season. Average seasonal fruit weight was reduced the second season with locally grown defoliated plants. During the second season the percent marketable fruit of `Chandler' and FL 79-1126 was greater with the defoliated plants.

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Charles D. Bornt, J. Brent Loy, William G. Lord, and Otho S. Wells

Research was conducted in New Hampshire during Fall 1995 and Spring 1996 to determine a planting schedule, rowcover type, application time, and plastic mulch type to be used in adapting the annual hill strawberry production system to New England. Treatments in Fall 1995 included two planting dates, three mulch types, and four rowcover modifications. Yields did not differ statistically between a 18 Aug. and 1 Sept. planting date or among plastic mulches. Typar 518 floating rowcovers significantly increased branch crowns, and early and total fruit yield compared to hay mulch applied for winter protection. Research was initiated in Fall 1996 to determine the effect of runner production on yield. Plug plants (50 vs. 24 tray) were treated with different day lengths and temperatures and planted in the field on 26 Aug. or 9 Sept. All plants were covered with Typar 518 on 4 Oct. 1996. Larger, late-planted plugs treated with cool, short days produced no runners in Fall 1996 and increased branch crowns and total yield in Spring 1997. Plants set out in Fall 1995 were evaluated for 2nd year production with or without runner pruning and four rowcover treatments in Fall 1996. Runner pruning did not significantly increase total yields, but resulted in earlier fruit harvesting in Spring 1997. Typar 518 applied 4 Oct. resulted in the greatest yield of any rowcover treatment.

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C.K. Chandler, D.E. Legard, and J.W. Noling

Five strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) cultivars in the 1995-96 season and four cultivars in the 1996-97 season were grown in the annual hill plasticulture system, with and without preplant soil fumigation (98% methyl bromide/2% chloropicrin at a rate of 240 lb/acre [269 kg·ha-1]). These trials were established on land that had been cropped with strawberries for 20 years. Significant cultivar by fumigation interactions were not detected for either yield or average fruit weight. Plants grown in nonfumigated soil produced 54% and 68% of the yield obtained from the plants grown in fumigated soil in 1995-96 and 1996-97 respectively, and the average fruit weight from plants grown in nonfumigated soil was also reduced, compared to that of plants grown in fumigated soil. Plant mortality was ≤3% in the nonfumigated plots. These results indicate that strawberry productivity in Florida can be substantially reduced by growing plants in soil that has not been fumigated prior to planting, even in the absence of lethal pathogens.

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Brent L. Black

Balancing vegetative growth with fruiting is a primary concern in strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) production. Where nursery plant selection and preconditioning are inadequate for runner control, additional approaches are needed. The gibberellin biosynthesis inhibitor prohexadione-Ca (commercial formulation Apogee) was tested over two seasons for suppressing fall runners of `Chandler' plug plants in a cold-climate annual hill production system. Prohexadione-Ca was applied as a foliar spray at active ingredient concentrations ranging from 60 to 480 mg·L-1, either as a single application 1 week after planting, or repeated at 3-week intervals. The lowest rate resulted in inadequate runner control, with some runners producing malformed daughter plants. Higher rates resulted in 57% to 93% reductions in fall runner numbers, with a concomitant increase in fall branch crown formation. There were no effects of the prohexadione-Ca treatments on plant morphology the following spring, and no adverse effects on fruit characteristics or yield. Chemical names used: prohexadione-calcium, calcium 3-oxido-4-propionyl-5-oxo-3-cyclohexene-carboxylate.

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E.B. Poling, H. Pat Fuller, and K.B. Perry

Floating rowcovers composed of extruded polypropylene, spunbonded polypropylene, and polyester were used in 1987-88 in eastern North Carolina for cold protection of strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) growing in annual hill culture on black plastic mulch. Treatments consisted of floating rowcovers in either winter, spring, or both with and without overhead irrigation for spring frost/freeze protection, in addition to irrigated and nonirrigated unprotected plots. Winter rowcovers increased air temperatures by 1 to 2C without advancing bloom or harvest date. Significant blossom temperature differences relative to rowcover materials (≈ 1.5C) and irrigation use (≈ 1.5 to 3.0C) were detected over the course of six spring frosts. Time of application of covers (winter or spring) and irrigation in spring interacted in their effects on early yields (25 Apr.-5 May). However, rowcover and irrigation treatments did not have a significant effect on total marketable yield, yield per plant, or berry mass. In the absence of higher prices for early than late-season fruit or of more severe environmental extremes than experienced in the current study, it would be difficult to justify the added expense of rowcovers.