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  • Author or Editor: Braja B. Datta x
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Field experiment on production systems of `Selva' day-neutral and `Totem' June-bearing strawberry was established in 1995 on the spring-killed cover crop mulched plots using randomized complete-block design. Seven soil cover treatments consisted of `Wheeler' rye (Secale cereale) and `Micah' and `Steptoe' barley (Hordium vulgare), `Micah' residue applied on soil surface, a wedge of perlite (artificial medium) placed next to strawberry row, perlite with `Wheeler' rye, and no treatment were used. During the early summer, cover crops were replanted between strawberry rows and mowed down after 6 weeks. In both cultivars, plant growth doubled during mid-summer, and `Micah'on surface produced better growth than the growth in other treatments. No significant difference was found on CO2 assimilation rate (mmol·m–2·s–1), leaflet length, and number of leaves and runners among treatments (P ≥ 0.1). Yield of `Totem' was ignored during the establishment year. In `Selva', `Micah' residue on surface produced 36% more crowns per plant and the greatest total yield than that of any other treatment. `Micah' on surface produced 50% more shoot biomass and 45% greater yield compared to `Micah' barley planted in the plot. Total `Selva' yield was 61% greater in perlite treatment than the yield in perlite with `Wheeler' rye and 31% greater than the control treatment. Comparison of `Selva' strawberry total yield and average fruit production between cover crops vs. control treatment using non-orthogonal contrast indicated no significant difference might suggests no detrimental interaction between cover crops and strawberry.

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Fall-planted cover crops killed in spring is practiced in strawberry cultivation in different regions of the North America. These systems have shown significant weed suppression and conservation of soil without significant yield reduction in strawberry. During the establishment season, this study was initiated to assess weed suppression with cover crops (`Wheeler' rye and `Micah' and `Steptoe' barley) along with perlite, an artificial plant medium. Strawberry (`Selva' and `Totem') plant growth and weed biomass were measured during 1995-96 season. Small-seeded summer annual weeds were suppressed in cover crop treatments compared to control treatment. `Micah' barley in growth phase suppressed more than 81% of the total weed biomass compared to control plots with no cover crop in early spring. However, in early summer, cover crop residues failed to suppress different types of weeds 60 days after killing of cereal with herbicide (2% glyphosate). Distinct differences in strawberry plant growth were evident between the cover crop treatments and non-cover crop treatments including `Micah' applied on surface. Strawberry growth was doubled during 10 July to 15 Aug. in both cultivars. `Micah' barley applied on surface produced better growth in both strawberry varieties than the growth in other treatments. `Micah' barley applied on soil surface produced 50% more strawberry shoot biomass may indicate the root competition between cover crops and strawberry.

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