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Daniel S. Kirschbaum and James F. Hancock

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Daniel S. Kirschbaum, Kirk D. Larson, Steven A. Weinbaum, and Theodore M. DeJong

The pattern of total nonstructural carbohydrate [starch and soluble sugars (TNC)] accumulation in strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) nursery runner plants, cv. Camarosa, was determined for three growing seasons. A similar study was conducted on `Selva', but for only one year. Growth, development and fruit production patterns of plants transplanted to growth chambers (GC) or fruiting fields were also evaluated. The experiments were carried out on plants propagated in high latitude (41°50' N) nurseries in California (Siskiyou County). Plants were sampled beginning late summer through early autumn and analyzed for dry mass (DM) and TNC. Plants from different digging dates were established in GC or fruit evaluation plots in Irvine, Calif. (33°39'N). Initial TNC concentration in storage tissues at the time of nursery digging increased steadily from the second week of September to the third week of October. Crown and root TNC concentration and content were correlated positively with the accumulation of chilling units (CU = hours ≤7.2 °C) in the nursery. Root TNC concentration consistently increased from 6% to 10% DM in `Camarosa' (a short-day cultivar), and from ∼4% to 14% DM in `Selva' (a day-neutral cultivar) from mid-September to the first week of October. The root TNC content increased ∼2.5 times in `Camarosa' and ∼3.7 times in `Selva' during the same period. Transplant growth, development, and fruiting pattern were affected by digging date. Root TNC concentration and content were more sensitive to CU accumulation than crown TNC concentration and content. Therefore, root sampling appeared to be more appropriate than crown sampling for assessing the carbohydrate status and optimal digging dates of strawberry nursery runner plants early in the fall.