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John R. Duval, Craig K. Chandler, Daniel E. Legard, and Peter Hicklenton

Transplant quality can have a major effect on the productivity of many crops. Bare-root, green-top transplants for Florida winter strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) production are produced mainly in highlatitude (>42° N) nurseries. Mechanical digging machines are used to remove plants from the soil at these nurseries before transport to production fields in Florida. In the course of this operation, crowns, petioles, and leaves may be crushed and broken. Machine and hand-dug bare-root transplants of `Camarosa' and `Sweet Charlie' were obtained from a Nova Scotia, Canada nursery, planted at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Dover, Fla. field facility on 2 Nov. 1999 and 10 Oct. 2000, and grown using standard annual-hill production practices. Plots were harvested twice weekly beginning 5 Jan. 2000 and 15 Dec. 2000. Hand-dug transplants produced significantly higher monetary returns both seasons. Therefore, fruit producers may consider paying the higher cost associated with changes in harvesting and packing operations needed to reduce damage to transplants.

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Gina E. Fernandez, Laura M. Butler, and Frank J. Louws

Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) `Chandler' plants from three sources were grown in the annual hill plasticulture system during two growing seasons (1996-97 and 1997-98). These trials evaluated the yield and vegetative performance of bareroot plants from Prince Edward Island and Ontario, Canada, and plug plant tips that were rooted in North Carolina but obtained from Ontario Canada. At the end of the season, total and marketable yields and fruit weight were not different among the plant sources. In addition, plants from all three plant sources produced equivalent yields on a weekly basis. Monthly whole plant harvests revealed that plant source did not affect leaf area, root, crown, leaf, flower or fruit dry weight during most of the growing season. In addition, plant growth parameters (specific leaf area, leaf area ratio, leaf weight ratio, and root to shoot ratio) in general did not differ among plant source in any 1 month. Plant growth did show shifts in dry weight allocation and leaf area as the season progressed that were uniform among plant sources, with the majority of the growth occurring in the spring in the two months prior to harvest. This uniformity among plant sources will allow future research to emphasize plant production practices that may reduce the risk of pest and disease problems or optimize production practices favored by growers.

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S.J. Locascio, J.P. Gilreath, S. Olson, C.M. Hutchinson, and C.A. Chase

Strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa, Duch) were grown in the annual hill system at four locations in Florida to compare the effects of standard black low density polyethylene (LDPE) mulch and red reflective mulch (SMR-red) on fruit size and production. Marketable fruit size was not affected by mulch color. Early and total marketable fruit yields were not affected by mulch color at Bradenton, but yields were significantly higher at Gainesville with red than black mulch, and were significantly higher with black than red mulch at Quincy and Hastings. Soil temperatures under the black mulch were significantly higher than red mulch at Hastings but significantly higher under red than black mulch at Gainesville. Mean soil temperatures at soil depths of 5 to 25 cm ranged from 0.2 to 0.4 °C Reflected photosynthetically active radiation values at 25 and 50 cm above the mulch were higher earlier in the season and decreased as the season progressed. Within a month after transplanting when foliage covered about 10% of the mulch, reflections were lower and similar at both heights with black mulch than red and were higher at 25 than 50 cm with red mulch. Data indicate that there was not a consistent advantage of the use of this red mulch over black mulch at four locations in Florida.

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Brent L. Black, Harry J. Swartz, Gerald F. Deitzer, Bryan Butler, and Craig K. Chandler

The effect of altered red/far-red light environment on subsequent field performance of strawberry plug plants was tested. Two wavelength-selective plastic films were compared to neutral shade and full-sun control for conditioning `Chandler' strawberry plug plants before transplanting to a winter production system. The following year, plug plants of `Chandler', `Sweet Charlie', and `Allstar' were conditioned under the same treatments, with the addition of a continuous incandescent light and a short-day photoperiod, and plant performance was followed in the winter production system in Florida, a cold-climate annual hill system in Maryland, and in a low-input greenhouse production system. During the first year, the red light-filtering film slightly advanced fruiting in Florida. However, during the second year, the effect of the red light-filtering film was not significant, and a short-day treatment resulted in a greater reduction in runnering and increased early crown and flower development. For June-bearing strawberry plants maintained above 20 °C, altering the red/far-red environment did not consistently advance flowering.

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Douglas V. Shaw and Kirk D. Larson

Performance characteristics for eighteen strawberry cultivars (Fragaria ×ananassa), nine from California and nine from other North American sources, were evaluated in annual hill culture, with and without preplant soil fumigation (2 methyl bromide : 1 chloropicrin, 392 kg·ha-1). Plants grown in nonfumigated soil yielded 57% and 46% of the fruit produced by plants on adjacent fumigated soil for cultivars from California and other North American origins, respectively. Plants in nonfumigated soils also developed fruit with lower berry weight (94% and 95% of fumigated trials) and smaller spring plant diameter (83% and 76%) for California and other sources, respectively. Trait values for exotic cultivars ranged from 39% to 80% of those for California cultivars, and the variance component due to germplasm sources explained 41% to 81% of the phenotypic variance of random effects in the experiment. Conversely, significant germplasm source × fumigation interactions were not detected for any of the growth or performance traits evaluated, and the proportion of variance attributable to these interactions was at most 2% of that due to germplasm source. These results demonstrate that strawberry growth and productivity for California and other North American germplasm sources are increased similarly by fumigation. Despite differing selection history, germplasm developed outside of California contains no obvious genetic diversity useful for developing cultivars specifically adapted to the sublethal effects of organisms in nonfumigated soils.

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Sean B. Fort, Douglas V. Shaw, and Kirk D. Larson

Nine selected strawberry genotypes (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) from the University of California, Davis, strawberry improvement program were intercrossed and their seedling offspring evaluated for five production traits. Plants were evaluated in annual hill culture, with and without preplant soil fumigation using a mixture of 67 methyl bromide: 33 chloropicrin (wt/wt, 392 kg/ha). Plant mortality was <1% for seedlings grown in either soil environment, indicating that the main effects of fumigation treatment in this experiment were due to the consequences of sublethal soil organisms. Plants grown in nonfumigated soils measured from 74% to 77% of the diameter of those grown in fumigated soils and yielded 59% as much fruit. Significant cross × fumigation interactions were not detected for fruit yield, fruit size, and weighted fruit appearance. Moreover, genetic correlations for these three traits calculated by comparing seedling performance in fumigated and nonfumigated soil environments were at or near unity, suggesting that the same genes condition genetic variability for these traits in both soil environments. Together, these findings demonstrate that strawberry fruit yield and vigor are increased substantially by fumigation, even in the absence of an identifiable major pathogen problem. Further, there may be little promise for developing cultivars with genetic adaptation specific to the sublethal effects of nonfumigated soils, as selection in either soil fumigation environment is likely to affect the same sets of genes.

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Kirk D. Larson and Douglas V. Shaw

Performance traits for twelve strawberry genotypes (Fragaria × ananassa) were evaluated in annual hill culture, with and without preplant soil fumigation (methyl bromide/ Chloropicrin 67:33, 350#/A) at two location. One trial followed several cycles of strawberry plantation whereas the other had not been planted to strawberries for over 20 years. Plant mortality was less than 3%. thus the main effects of fumigation treatment in these experiments must be due to sublethal effects of soil organisms. Plants grown in nonfumigated soil yielded 57% and 51% of the fruit produced by plants on adjacent fumigated soil, for “new” and “old” strawberry ground respectively. Highly significant (P<0.01) differences were also detected for fruit weight (88% and 93%) and leaf number after plantation establishment (73% and 80%). Significant genotype × fumigation interaction was not detected for any of the Performance traits. These results demonstrate that strawberry productivity is substantially increased by fumigation, even in the absence of lethal pathogens. More importantly, little opportunity exists for developing cultivars specifically adapted to nonfumigated soils.

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Joel L. Shuman* and Anthony D. Bratsch

Anthracnose fruit rot (AFR) and crown rot can cause severe economic losses on susceptible `Chandler' and `Camarosa' strawberry in Virginia: `Sweet Charlie' and `Bish' are moderately resistant to resistant. Actigard (acibenzolar-S-methyl), an inducer of systemic acquired resistance, has been effective at reducing black spot and speck on tomato, blue mold on tobacco, and fire blight on apple. The objective of this study was to determine if Actigard, when spray-applied to field-grown strawberry, can reduce AFR better than or equal to several registered fungicides. Four varieties (VAR) (Chandler, Camarosa, Sweet Charlie, and Bish) were treated with four fungicides (FUNG) (water control, azoxystrobin, chlorothalonil, and actigard). Experimental design was a split plot with FUNG as the main plot and VAR as the split plot with four replicates. Standard annual hill system practices were used throughout. Plots were inoculated three times throughout the harvest season with a conidia: water solution of 1 × 106 conidia per mL. Plots were treated with FUNG on a 14-day schedule from bloom to end of season. Plots were visually assessed for anthracnose and fruit were harvested 2× weekly and weighed into four categories: marketable, cull, fruit with anthracnose, and fruit with other diseases. Environmental conditions were conducive for anthracnose development: extended periods of rain and high relative humidity. Plots treated with water control had more AFR, other fruit rots, and higher overall disease ratings than those treated with a compound. Plots treated with actigard had the same level of AFR as did those treated with azoxystrobin. `Chandler' and `Camarosa' had considerably more AFR than `Sweet Charlie' and `Bish' had the least amount over all FUNG.

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Sean B. Fort and Douglas V. Shaw

Seedling offspring of crosses among 10 selected strawberry genotypes (Fragari ×ananassa Duch.) from the University of California strawberry improvement program were established in annual hill culture. Soil treatments consisted of 1) preplant fumigation using a mixture of methyl bromide and chloropicrin or 2) no fumigation. Root systems of individual plants were sampled with a soil probe in January, April, and July 1994 to determine root mass (RM), secondary root mass (SRM), and a subjective root appearance score (RAS). For each trait, genetic analyses of partial diallels were performed to quantify sources of genetic, environmental, and interaction variance. Root trait values differed significantly between soil treatments only for the April sampling date, with all trait values greater in fumigated soils than in nonfumigated soils. For RM and SRM, variance due to general combining ability (GCA) was significant in April and July. Narrow-sense heritabilities (h2) for RM increased between January (0.14) and July (0.40); SRM showed a similar trend with a higher h2 on each sampling date. GCA variances were nonsignificant for RAS, however, significant fumigation × GCA interaction variance was detected for RAS in January. Specific combining ability (SCA) variances were nonsignificant for all traits. To further quantify the extent of interactions, correlations (rg) between genotypic expressions in fumigated soils and nonfumigated soils were calculated for each root trait. These rg values were at or near unity (> 0.85) for RM and SRM on all sampling dates, implying that genetic variability for these traits is conditioned by genes with identical effects within each soil environment. Conversely, rg between soil environments was 0.52, 0.62, and -0.18, for January, April, and July RAS, respectively. These findings suggest that genetic variability exists within this germplasm base for strawberry root mass characteristics. Genetic variation also exists for January root appearance score, but it is not conditioned identically across fumigation treatments.

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Sean B. Fort and Douglas V. Shaw

Genotypic and phenotypic relationships among root system and above-ground traits of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) were evaluated for seedlings grown in annual hill culture, with soil treatments consisting of 1) preplant fumigation with methyl bromide and chloropicrin or 2) nonfumigation. Seedlings were from crosses among 10 genotypes within the University of California strawberry improvement program that had been selected previously for yield and other production traits. Root mass had positive genotypic correlations with plant diameter 5 months after planting in both fumigated (r = 0.58) and nonfumigated (r = 0.69) soils. Genotypic correlations between root mass and two production traits, yield and fruit size, were nonsignificant. However, plant diameter had positive genotypic correlations with yield (r = 0.36 to 0.51) and negative genotypic correlations with fruit size (r = -0.47 to -0.60). In general, root appearance scores were uncorrelated with production traits, but their genotypic correlations with vegetative traits were occasionally strong. Genotypic path coefficient analyses conducted separately for fumigated soils and nonfumigated soils both indicated that plant diameter had positive direct effects on yield that were twice the magnitude of that for any other trait. Root mass had a small negative direct effect on yield in each fumigation environment, while root appearance scores had small to moderate direct effects on yield that were more positive for samples obtained after fruiting (in April) versus before fruiting. Pleiotropic relationships appear to exist between root traits and plant diameter, but plant diameter is the best single predictor of genotypic variation for yield in both soil fumigation environments.