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Tissue-culture derived mother plants were established in a greenhouse suspended-gutter, nutrient-film technique growing system to evaluate runner tip productivity in the system. Effects of cultivar (`Allstar', `Chandler', `Latestar', `Northeaster', and USDA selection B 27) and duration (0, 1, or 2 months) of cold storage at 1 °C on tip viability, rooting success, and performance in fruit production were determined. The average number and weight of runner tips produced in the gutter production system, the capacity of runner tips to form cohesively rooted plug plants, and the number and length of adventitious roots produced by runner tips varied significantly among the cultivars and the three storage durations (0, 1, or 2 months). In the field, plants produced from runner tips stored for 2 months produced more runners than plants produced from freshly harvested runner tips. Crown number differed among the cultivars, but was not affected by cold storage treatment. No treatment differences were noted for the fruit harvest parameters evaluated. The results suggest that the transplants derived from mother plants grown in a greenhouse-based soilless system can be useful for annual plasticulture strawberry production in colder climates. Although long periods of cold storage of runner tips resulted in lower tip-to-transplant conversion ratios, field performance of transplants was not adversely affected. Additional research is needed to improve greenhouse strawberry production practices for increasing runner output and storage conditions that maintain the integrity of cold-stored runner tips. Without these improvements it is unlikely that soilless runner tip production will become a widely accepted technique that would replace the field nursery tip production method currently used by commercial strawberry propagators.

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In consumer-harvested marketing, crop management practices and production systems directly affect the experience of the customer. An experiment was designed to compare overall consumer preference and fruit quality characteristics among three perennial cold-climate strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) production systems: conventional matted row (CMR), advanced matted row (AMR), and cold-climate plasticulture (CCP). Replicate plots of each system were maintained for two harvest seasons. Volunteers harvested subplots in each system and completed a survey to evaluate pick-your-own consumer preferences. The CCP system was preferred by a majority of consumers in the first year, whereas the AMR system was rated highest in the second year. Preferences were positively correlated with ease of harvest and fruit appearance and negatively correlated with the percentage of fruit unfit for harvest. Fruit quality measurements made on marketable fruit in the second harvest season indicated that there were no treatment differences in titratable acidity or soluble solids concentration, but significantly lower fruit firmness in the CCP treatment compared with CMR and AMR.

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Three cold-climate strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) production systems, conventional matted row (CMR), advanced matted row (AMR), and cold-climate plasticulture (CCP), were compared for horticultural and economic aspects of sustainability over a 3-year planting cycle. The systems were tested using a single cultivar, Allstar, to avoid treatment × cultivar interaction. System-specific management operations and materials affected the total production costs of each system. Both CMR and AMR had higher management costs than CCP as a result of labor costs for weed control, but CCP had much higher cost of materials. Overall expenses were lowest for CMR and highest for AMR. Yields in the first fruiting year were highest for CMR at 17.4 Mg·ha−1 followed by AMR and CCP at 13.2 Mg·ha−1 and 11.8 Mg·ha−1, respectively. In the 2004 harvest season, CMR and AMR were the highest yielding at 10.0 Mg·ha−1 and 9.0 Mg·ha−1, respectively, with CCP the lowest yielding at 6.0 Mg·ha−1. Low yield and fruit size in the second year and high material costs for establishment limit the economic viability for CCP when managed as a perennial system.

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Strawberry production in the U.S. Intermountain West is limited by harsh climatic conditions and competition from domestic producers and imports. Using season extension methods to combat climatic conditions may be effective but generally increases production costs. This study evaluates the economic returns to implementing high tunnels, low tunnels, and in-ground supplemental heating to strawberry production (Seascape and Chandler cultivars) in northern Utah. The high tunnel provided a net return of $1,943.57 or $15,548.56 per hectare assuming eight high tunnels per hectare. The addition of low tunnels within the high tunnel led to a positive increase in net returns for ‘Seascape’ but not for ‘Chandler’ production. Supplemental in-ground heating increased net returns by up to 50% for both cultivars, primarily as a result of higher pre-season yield and market pricing. Study results find that season extension technologies can successfully increase net returns to strawberry production through early and increased yields, when strawberries are sold primarily through local direct markets.

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The use of highly feathered trees can make high-density apple plantings more profitable through enhanced precocity and increased early yield. Currently, nurseries are asked to provide highly feathered trees with wide branch crotch angles. The use of plant growth regulators (PGRs) can play a key role when it comes to branch induction; however, dose and timing both need to be tested to enhance branching without compromising other tree quality attributes. Over the last 4 years, we have conducted studies of the use of MaxCel® (6-benzyladenine) and Promalin® (a mixture of 1.8% 6-benzyladenine and 1.8% GA4+7) in comparison with Tiberon™ SC (cyclanilide) at several nurseries in NY, WA, DE, Ontario (Canada), and Chile. The best results were obtained with four applications of MaxCel® or Promalin® (400 mg·L−1) beginning when leader growth reached 70 cm above the soil line and reapplied at 10–14 days intervals. Promalin® was a slightly less effective branching agent than MaxCel®. On the other hand, Promalin® stimulated leader growth resulting in improved final tree height, whereas MaxCel® induced the widest branch angles. Overall, we observed good response and quality ratings with ‘Cameo’, ‘Cripps Pink’, ‘Enterprise’, ‘Fuji’, ‘Ambrosia’, ‘Crimson Crisp’, ‘Gingergold’, and ‘Granny Smith’, whereas less quality ratings were observed on ‘Ambrosia’, ‘Cortland’, ‘Goldrush’, ‘Honeycrisp’, and ‘Suncrisp’. Response with ‘Gala’ varied depending on the temperature range. Multiple sprays of Gibberellins (GA4+7, or GA3) at 250 mg·L−1 applied to nursery trees in the late summer inhibited flower bud development and flowering in the orchard the next year. This reduces the risk of fire blight infection in newly planted trees.

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The environmental effects of the three strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) cold-climate production systems were compared: the traditional method of conventional matted row (CMR) and the two more recently developed practices of advanced matted row (AMR) and cold-climate plasticulture (CCP). Side-by-side field plots were instrumented with automated flow meters and samplers to measure and collect runoff, which was filtered and analyzed to determine soil, pesticide, and nitrogen losses. Although annual mean runoff volumes were similar for all three production systems, the soil losses from CMR plots were two to three times greater than the CCP plots throughout the study and two to three times greater than the AMR plots only in the first year of the 3-year study. In general, decreases in erosion and runoff volumes were observed in plots that were disturbed less by machine operations and had less foot traffic as a result of decreased need for hand weeding and in the plots that used straw mulch in the furrows between the beds. Timing and intensity of precipitation events also influenced the amount of soil erosion. Pesticide residues and nitrogen losses were also greatest in the runoff from the CMR plots. The two systems that used drip fertigation, AMR and CCP, also had higher nitrogen uptake efficiencies. Overall, the CCP and AMR systems performed similarly for most criteria; however, considering the nonrenewable nature of the plastic mulch and the need to dispose of the plastic mulch in a landfill, the AMR system was more environmentally sustainable than the CCP system.

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Autumnberry (Elaeagnus umbellata, “A”) and cornelian cherry (Cornusmas, “CC”) genotypes were examined for mineral composition, anthocyanin, phenolic and tannin contents, antioxidant characteristics and levels of individual phenolic compounds via GC-MS. Values were compared with those of 58 cultivars of blackberries (“B”), black raspberries (“BR”), cranberries (“C”), elderberries (“E”), grapes (“G”), red raspberries (“RR”) and strawberries (“S”). The phenolic content of “CC” (6955 μg·gfw-1) was greater than 2× that of “B”, “BR” and “E”. Phenolic contents of “A” samples (1058-1776 μg·gfw-1) were similar to those of “RR”, red “G” and “S”. Anthocyanin levels in “CC” (270 μg·gfw-1) resembled those in “C”. “A” did not contain anthocyanins. Fruit of “CC” and “A” possessed high tannin levels (9291 μg·gfw-1 and 1410–5403 μg·gfw-1, respectively) and exhibited high antioxidant potential (μmol·gfw-1 trolox equiv.). DPPH and FRAP values of “CC” (72.1 and 94.9, respectively) were greater than 2× those of “BR”. DPPH values of “A” (23.9–56.2) were ≥ values for “BR”, whereas “A” FRAP values (13.3–34.0) were similar to those of “B” and “RR”. However, the lipid-soluble antioxidant potential of lycopene-rich “A” was substantial. Levels of individual compounds varied among cultivars. Ca and Mg contents of “A” were less than those found in “CC” and “BR”. Other mineral levels were comparable.

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