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James J. Luby, David K. Wildung and Gene J. Galletta

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James J. Luby, David K. Wildung and Gene J. Galletta

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Shengrui Yao, James J. Luby and David K. Wildung

As part of our hardy strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) breeding program, winter hardiness of 15 strawberry cultivars was evaluated in the field after Winter 2005–2006 and a test Winter 2006–2007 with no snow cover at Grand Rapids, MN. After the snow-covered Winter 2005–2006, plant stand (percent leaf coverage for the designated area for each plot) increased for all cultivars in the mulched treatment and some cultivars in the unmulched treatment with slight decreases only for several cultivars in the unmulched treatment. However, after Winter 2006–2007, the plant stands of all cultivars drastically decreased in both mulched and unmulched treatments. ‘Clancy’, ‘Evangeline’, and ‘L'Amour’ were the three most sensitive cultivars among the 15 cultivars tested. ‘Kent’, ‘Mesabi™’, ‘Cavendish’, and ‘Brunswick’ were the highest yielding cultivars for both 2006 and 2007 in the mulched treatment. In the unmulched treatment, ‘Brunswick’, ‘Mesabi™ ’, ‘Cavendish’, ‘Sable’, and ‘Kent’ were the top yielding cultivars after Winter 2006–2007. During Winter 2005–2006, with 20 to 30 cm snow cover throughout the season, the 5- and 10-cm soil temperatures remained constant at ≈30 to 31.5 °F in both mulched and unmulched treatments. In contrast, during Winter 2006–2007, there were 16 and 24 days (consecutive) in February below 18 °F at 5-cm soil depths for mulched and unmulched treatments, respectively, which probably led to the severe winter damage. Although straw mulch afforded the plants some protection, snow cover is critical to the survival of strawberries in northern Minnesota and other areas with similar weather conditions.

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Ahmed El-Shiekh, David K. Wildung, James J. Luby, Kay L. Sargent and Paul E. Read

Plants of `Northblue' blueberry, propagated in tissue culture (TC) or from softwood, single-node cuttings (ST), were evaluated in field plantings established in 1984 at Becker and Grand Rapids, in central and northern Minnesota, respectively. Plantings were observed from 1987 through 1994 to determine the persistence of such effects as increased vigor, more spreading growth habit, and higher yield observed for TC plants during the initial 3 years after planting. TC plants had significantly higher yields at Grand Rapids in 1989 and 1994. At Grand Rapids, the consistently greater plant spread (bearing area) of TC plants resulted in higher yields of TC plants over all years combined. At Becker, TC and ST plants did not differ for plant height or spread after 10 years and, in 2 of 5 years, ST plants had heavier average berry weights. At Grand Rapids, TC plants did not differ consistently in height, or subjective ratings of the amount of bloom or crop. The effects of propagation method on yield and growth habit of `Northblue' are limited to early years in warmer locations, but can be of longer-term significance in colder areas with shorter growing seasons and lower winter temperatures, where plant spread is a more important factor than plant height in determining yield.

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James J. Luby, Emily E. Hoover, David S. Bedford, Shirley T. Munson, Wesley H. Gray, David K. Wildung and Cecil Stushnoff