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  • Author or Editor: C.M. Menzel x
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The productivity of containerized and bare-rooted plants of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) was investigated over 4 years in southeastern Queensland, Australia. In the first experiment, plants in small, 75-cm3 cells were compared with bare-rooted plants of ‘Festival’ and ‘Sugarbaby’. A similar experiment was conducted in year 2 with these two cultivars, plus ‘Rubygem’. In year 3, plants in large, 125-cm3 cells were compared with small and large bare-rooted plants of ‘Festival’ and ‘Rubygem’. Treatments in each of these experiments were planted on the same date. In the final experiment, plants in large cells and bare-rooted plants of ‘Festival’ were planted in late March, early April, mid-April, or early May. The plants grown in small cells produced 60% to 85% of the yields of the bare-rooted plants, whereas the yield of plants in large cells was equal to that of the bare-rooted plants. Containerized plants are twice as expensive as bare-rooted plants (A$0.60 vs. A$0.32) (A$ = Australian dollar), and gave only similar or lower returns than the bare-rooted plants (A$0.54 to A$3.73 vs. A$1.40 to A$4.09). It can be concluded that containerized strawberry plants are not economically viable in subtropical Queensland under the current price structure and growing system. There was a strong relationship between yield and average plant dry weight (leaves, crowns, and roots) in ‘Festival’ in the last three experiments, where harvesting continued to late September or early October. Productivity increased by about 18 g for each gram increase in plant dry weight, indicating the dependence of fruit production on vegetative growth in this environment.

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Experiments were conducted to determine the effect of time of planting, plant size, and nursery-growing environment on the performance of bare-rooted ‘Festival’ strawberry plants (Fragaria ×ananassa) at Nambour in southeastern Queensland, Australia, over 3 years. Yields were best with a planting in mid-March (1013 g/plant), with lower yields with a planting in early March (711 g/plant), late March/early April (765 g/plant), mid-April (671 g/plant), or late April/early May (542 g/plant). Plants obtained from Stanthorpe in southern Queensland, a warm-growing environment, were just as productive (695 g/plant) as those from Toolangi in Victoria (710 g/plant) or Kempton in Tasmania (701 g/plant), two cool-growing environments. In contrast, large plants from these nurseries with crown diameters ranging from 10 to 17 mm had 17% higher yields than small plants with crown diameters ranging from 6 to 10 mm (751 vs. 642 g/plant). These results suggest that planting in mid-March is optimal for ‘Festival’ in this environment. Lower yields with an earlier planting reflected the small size of the plants, whereas lower yields with later plantings reflected the shorter growing seasons. It can also be concluded that plant size is more important than nursery-growing environment in determining the productivity of strawberry fields in southeastern Queensland.

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