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  • Author or Editor: Frank G. Martin x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Three irrigation treatments (none, drip, and sprinkler) and eight rowcover treatments were evaluated for their capacity to provide freeze protection for strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) in a split-plot factorial field experiment. The period under study included 20 freeze events, two events with minima of -9.5C and -10.0C. With no freeze protection, up to 93% of the flowers were damaged by freezes. Among sprinkler-irrigated plants, an average of only 10% flowers were damaged due to the freezes. Heavy-weight rowcovers (polyethylene blanket and polypropylene, 30 and 50 g·m-2, respectively) protected strawberry flowers as well as sprinkler irrigation to -4.4C. Early yield (December-January) from unprotected plants was negligible. Early yields from plants protected with a 3.2-mm polyethylene blanket or a 50 g·m-2 polypropylene cover were equal to yields obtained with sprinkler-protected plants. Combinations of sprinkler and certain rowcover treatments provided for better fruit production than either treatment alone. Drip irrigation alone provided no protection from freezes. All strawberry plants recovered from freeze damage and total-season yields were similar with all irrigation methods and rowcovers.

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Intensive selection to improve vase life was performed on a sample population of Gerber ×hybrida Hort. from a broad source of germplasm. Progeny of a 5 × 5 diallel cross yielded estimates of narrow sense heritability (h2 = 0.28) and broad sense heritability (H2 = 0.28) for vase life based on a mean of 1.96 measurements per plant. Additive gene action is postulated to control this character since the difference between total genotypic variance and additive genetic variance components was small. Repeatability (r = 0.57) based on a single measurement per plant was moderately high. Heritability estimates were also determined based on 1, 2, 3, 5, and ∞ measurements per plant. Heritability ranged from 22% to 39%.

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