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  • Author or Editor: Craig K. Chandler x
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During the 1992-93 fruiting season, strawberries were fertigated weekly with 0.28, 0.56, 0.84, 1.12, or 1.40 kg N/ha/day from ammonium nitrate. K was applied uniformly at 0.84 kg/ha/day by fertigation. Irrigation maintained soil moisture tension in the beds between -10 and -15 kPa. Fruit yields responded positively to N fertilization with yields maximized at 0.56 kg N/ha/day. Leaf N and petiole sap nitrate N concentrations increased with N rate with leaf-N for the plants receiving 0.28 kg N/ha/day remaining below 25 g·kg-1 most of the season. Sufficiency ranges for petiole sap nitrate-N quick testing were developed.

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Containerized strawberry transplants offer an alternative to problematic bare-root transplants, which often have variability in flowering and vegetative vigor. Containerized transplants were propagated in three different container cell sizes (75, 150, and 300 cm3) and grown at two different temperature regimes for 2 weeks prior to planting (25/15 and 35/25°C day/night). Bare-root transplants from Massachusetts and Florida were graded into small, medium, and large plants based on crown size (8, 12, and 16 mm respectively). Plug transplants grown at 25/15°C had greater root dry weights than transplants grown at 35/25°C. Root imaging analysis (MacRHIZO) showed that the differences in dry weight were due to root area, not root tissue density. Crown dry weight increased with increasing cell size. Plug transplants grown at 25/15°C flowered earlier and had greater production than any other treatment. The 75 cm3 cell size grown at 35/25°C produced greater December strawberry production than larger cell sizes at the same temperature regime; however, the 75 cm3 cell size had decreased January strawberry production while the larger cell sizes had increased production. Larger plug cell sizes had significantly greater production than smaller plugs throughout the season, whereas larger bare-roots had greater production only early in the season. Containerized plug transplants therefore offers a viable alternative to problematic bare-root transplants.

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A greenhouse hydroponic system, which uses suspended plastic troughs, was found to be an efficient system for the production of high quality strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) plantlets. In this system micropropagated mother plants of `Oso Grande' and `Sweet Charlie' produced an average of 84 and 80 daughters per mother plant, respectively, in 1996, at a plant density of 3 mother plants/ft2 (32 mother plants/m2). Nearly 100% of the plantlets harvested from the system were successfully rooted in plug trays, and showed no symptoms of leaf or crown diseases.

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Abstract

Experiments were conducted to examine strawberry (Fragaria × anannassa Duchesne) plant renovation practices, singly and in combination, for effects on vegetative growth of greenhouse-grown, potted strawberry plants. The major results of these experiments were as follows: a) most of the plants that were both defoliated and root-pruned after fruit harvest died; b) there was a negative linear relationship between the number of leaves removed and the number of new leaves and runners produced; c) root, leaf, and total plant dry weights were negatively correlated with the severity of root pruning; and d) soil addition after fruit harvest decreased the shoot : root ratio of multiple-crown plants, but had no effect on single-crown plants.

Open Access

Abstract

Five blueberry interspecific hybrids (3 tetraploids, 1 pentaploid, and 1 hexaploid) and 2 highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L., 2n = 4x = 48) blueberry clones were crossed in all combinations. Seeds per pollination and seed germination were the criteria used to measure the success of these crosses. The tetraploid interspecific hybrids were fully cross-fertile with the highbush clones and with each other. The pentaploid and hexaploid interspecific hybrids were only partially cross-fertile with the highbush clones and with the tetraploid interspecific hybrids; nonetheless, they still produced an adequate amount of viable seed in most combinations. Significant reciprocal differences in crossability were detected for 4 of the 5 species hybrids.

Open Access

Hydrocooling was evaluated as an alternative to forced-air cooling for strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) fruit. `Sweet Charlie' strawberries were cooled by forced-air and hydrocooling to 4 °C and held in different storage regimes in three different trials. Quality attributes, including surface color, firmness, weight loss, soluble solids, and ascorbic acid content, pH and total titratable acidity, were evaluated at the full ripe stage. Fruit hydrocooled to 4 °C and stored at different temperatures for 8 or 15 days showed overall better quality than forced-air cooled fruit, with significant differences in epidermal color, weight loss, and incidence and severity of decay. Fruit stored wrapped in polyvinylchloride (PVC) film after forced-air cooling or hydrocooling retained better color, lost less weight, and retained greater firmness than fruit stored uncovered, but usually had increased decay. There is potential for using hydrocooling as a cooling method for strawberries.

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Strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) fruit are very susceptible to mechanical injury and for this reason are normally field-packed. Fruit of three cultivars (Chandler, Oso Grande, Sweet Charlie) were subjected to forced-air or hydrocooling to reach pulp temperatures between 1 and 30 °C and then individually subjected to compression and impact forces representative of commercial handling operations. Strawberries with a pulp temperature of 24 °C exhibited sensitivity to compression but greater resistance to impacts. As pulp temperature decreased, fruit were less susceptible to compression as shown by up to 60% reduction in bruise volume. In contrast, strawberries at 1 °C pulp temperature had more severe impact bruising with up to 93% larger bruise volume than at 24 °C depending on the cultivar. Strawberries also showed different impact bruise susceptibility depending on the cooling method. Impacted fruit that were forced-air cooled had larger bruise volumes than those that were hydrocooled. The impact bruise volume for strawberries forced-air cooled to 1 °C was 29% larger than for fruit hydrocooled to 20 °C, 84% higher than those forced-air cooled to 20 °C, and 164% higher than those hydrocooled to 1 °C. Because incidence and severity of impact and compression bruises are temperature-dependent, strawberry growers should consider pulp temperature for harvest scheduling and for potential grading on a packing line. Hydrocooling shows promise to rapidly cool strawberry fruit while reducing weight loss and bruising sensitivity.

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Plants of `Selva', `Pajaro', and three Univ. of Florida strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) selections were grown near Dover, Fla., for five seasons using the annual hill cultural system. Genotype × environment interactions were significant for both marketable yield and fruit weight; therefore, stability analyses were performed. None of the genotypes had consistently high marketable yield, but one of the selections, FL M-1350, had relatively large and stable average fruit size. A genotype was desirable if it had a mean yield (or fruit weight) above the grand mean of all five genotypes, a regression coefficient 1, and a nonsignificant deviation from regression.

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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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In west–central Florida, strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) are harvested from early December to late March. The peak harvest occurs at the end of the season and lasts ≈1 month, usually from late February to mid-March. As the peak harvest progresses and temperatures increase, fruit become smaller and the soluble solids content (SSC) of fruit declines. The main objective of this study was to determine whether the progression of peak harvest results in a decline in SSC independent of temperature. In 2007 and 2008, recently opened flowers were tagged in the field on the first week into the peak bloom (WPB) and for 3 additional weeks thereafter. Three days after tagging, plants were transplanted to one of two constant temperature environments (15 or 22 °C). At maturity, the weight, SSC, and fruit development period (FDP) of tagged fruit were recorded. Fruit SSC was lower at the higher temperature (5.2% at 22 °C versus 6.5% at 15 °C) in both years. In 2007, SSC was not correlated with WPB, and in 2008, SSC was positively correlated with WPB at constant temperatures. In addition, the coefficient of determination (r 2) for a regression of SSC on mean temperature over the period 8 days before harvest was 0.73 for fruit harvested from fields between 2003 and 2009. These results indicate that rising temperature is a major factor responsible for the late-season decline of SSC in strawberry fruit in a subtropical production system.

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