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  • Author or Editor: Daniel E. Legard x
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The control of postharvest Botrytis fruit rot was evaluated during 1995-96, 1996-97, and 1997-98. Weekly applications of captan and thiram were examined at two or three different rates, respectively. Iprodione applications were combined with the captan and thiram treatments and applied alone for two peak bloom periods. Strawberry fruit were harvested and graded twice weekly for marketable yield and preharvest incidence of Botrytis fruit rot. For postharvest evaluations, fruit from four harvests were selected and stored at 4 °C, and Botrytis fruit rot incidence was recorded over 14 days of storage. Fungicide treatments reduced the incidence of preharvest Botrytis fruit rot and increased marketable yield. Marketable yield data were then used to extrapolate production into net economic returns per hectare. In 1995-96, net returns per hectare ranged from a low of $16,008 in the control treatment to a high of $20,728 for captan. In 1996-97, net returns ranged from a low of $3,655 per hectare for the control to a high of $17,985 for captan + iprodione. In 1997-98, net returns varied from -$641 per hectare for iprodione to a high of $24,215 for captan. Over the experiment's 3-year period, net returns averaged a low of $4,172 for iprodione alone to $19,074 for captan. The study concluded that, at roughly $1,000 per season, fungicide treatments represent a minor proportion of total costs, yet have large impacts on strawberry production profits.

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On standard two-row black polyethylene covered beds, `Camarosa', `Rosa Linda', and `Sweet Charlie' strawberry plants were grown at 23, 31, 38, or 46 cm within-row spacing during the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons at Dover, Fla. Ripe fruit were harvested twice weekly from December through March. The first 8 weeks of harvest was considered the early period; the late period consisted of all harvests after the first 8 weeks. The effect of spacing on early marketable yield was consistent across seasons and cultivars. The 23-cm spacing resulted in the highest marketable yield per unit area, followed by the 31-, 38-, and 46-cm spacing. The percentage of fruit that were small (unmarketable) was higher at the 23-cm spacing than at the wider spacings (40% vs. 35% or 36%), but spacing did not affect the percentage of fruit that were misshapen. For the late harvest period, a spacing effect on marketable yield occurred in 1998–99, but not in 1997–98. The 23-, 31-, and 38-cm spacings in 1998–99 resulted in similar late period yields, which were 15% to 21% higher than the yield resulting from the 46-cm spacing. These results indicate that marketable yields per plant during the late period were higher at the wider spacings.

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The objective of this study was to compare plant health and growth in Florida fruiting fields of `Sweet Charlie' plants from 10 different plant sources. Bare-root plants from Ontario, Nova Scotia, Massachusetts, Oregon, North Carolina, Alabama, and Florida and plug plants from North Carolina and Florida were compared in a RCBD of four replicates. Plants were rated for vigor, production, diseases, and pests throughout the 1995-96 season. Crown size of transplants ranged from 7 to 12 mm. Plants from northern sources exhibited angular leaf spot (Xanthomonas fragariae) and gnomonia (Gnomonia spp.) while southern-raised plants were infected with phomopsis (Phomopsis obscurans) and anthracnose (Colletoctrichum spp.). Initial ratings confirm the potential for aphids and two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) to be introduced on transplants. Plants from northern origins flowered 10-14 days earlier than plants produced in southern regions. Total season marketable fruit production was not statistically different among the eight bare-root treatments. Monthly fruit production was significantly different among treatments for all months except February. Performance of plug plants compared to bare-root plants of the same geographic origin were inconsistent. Initial crown size, average berry size, and cull fruit production were significantly different among the plant sources. In summary, clear differences in foliar diseases and monthly fruit production were strongly associated with transplant source. A strawberry farmer may maintain more stable production throughout the year by using transplants from several geographic origins.

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