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Earl E. Albregts and Craig K. Chandler

Four strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa, Duch.) cultivars were grown in a winter strawberry fruiting study using the annual hill cultural system and polyethylene-mulched beds during two seasons. Plants were set on 15, 30, 45, and 60 cm in row-plant spacing with two rows per bed spaced at 45 cm. Increasing plant density in the fruiting field generally increased early fruit yield and sometimes total fruit yield during two seasons. Yields of cull fruit were also increased with increased plant density. Daughter plant production decreased with increased plant density. Growers should consider planting costs, fruit rot, and harvesting problems when selecting the plant density for fruit production.

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Earl E. Albregts and C. K. Chandler

The phosphorus content is usually high in soils on which strawberry production occurs in west central Florida because of moderate P levels in the virgin soil and yearly applications of P by the growers. A P rate study was conducted to test the calibration of P for strawberry nursery production, and a randomized complete block design with four replicates was used. Rates of 0, 11, 22, and 33 kg/ha P were applied to a Seffner sand which had an initial soil P level of 86 mg/kg using the Mehlich II soil extractant. Soil tests routinely show P soil concentrations up to 250 mg/kg or greater with 86 mg/kg rated in the high range. In this study the P applied to the beds was cultivated into the soil and six plants of two strawberry clones (Fl 87-210 and Fl 85-4925) were set in each plot on 28 May 1991. All nutrients except P were applied as needed during the season. Leaf P content of daughter plants on 20 Aug 1991 varied from 0.23 to 0.25% among P treatments and were not different because of P rates. All marketable size daughter plants were harvested on 8 Oct 1991. The number, total wt, and average wt of daughter plants were not different because of applied P rates.

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George J. Hochmuth, Earl E. Albregts, and Craig K. Chandler

During the 1992-93 fruiting season, strawberries were fertigated weekly with 0.28, 0.56, 0.84, 1.12, or 1.40 kg N/ha/day from ammonium nitrate. K was applied uniformly at 0.84 kg/ha/day by fertigation. Irrigation maintained soil moisture tension in the beds between -10 and -15 kPa. Fruit yields responded positively to N fertilization with yields maximized at 0.56 kg N/ha/day. Leaf N and petiole sap nitrate N concentrations increased with N rate with leaf-N for the plants receiving 0.28 kg N/ha/day remaining below 25 g·kg-1 most of the season. Sufficiency ranges for petiole sap nitrate-N quick testing were developed.

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Earl E. Albregts, George J. Hochmuth, and C. K. Chandler

During the 1992-93 fruiting season, straw berry plants were fertigated weekly with either 0.28, 0.56, 0.84, 1.12, or 1.40 kg/ha/day of K derived from KCl. Other nutrients were applied in the plant bed before fumigation except for N which was applied at 0.84 kg/ha/day by fertigation. Soil moisture in the plant beds was maintained between 10 and 15 cbs. Initial soil K tested medium with the Mehlich I soil test. Seasonal average fruit weight and percent marketable fruit decreased with increasing K rate. Seasonal fruit yields did not increase with K rates above 0.56 kg/ha/day. Leaf K concentrations increased with increasing K rates throughout the harvest season. The leaf K concentrations in the 0.28 K treatment were below 1% during the last month of harvest. K rates did not affect fruit firmness.

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Craig K. Chandler, Peter J. Stoffella, Earl E. Albregts, and Charles M. Howard

Plants of `Selva', `Pajaro', and three Univ. of Florida strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) selections were grown near Dover, Fla., for five seasons using the annual hill cultural system. Genotype × environment interactions were significant for both marketable yield and fruit weight; therefore, stability analyses were performed. None of the genotypes had consistently high marketable yield, but one of the selections, FL M-1350, had relatively large and stable average fruit size. A genotype was desirable if it had a mean yield (or fruit weight) above the grand mean of all five genotypes, a regression coefficient 1, and a nonsignificant deviation from regression.

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George J. Hochmuth, Earl E. Albregts, Craig C. Chandler, John Cornell, and Jay Harrison

Strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) were grown in two seasons at Dover, Fla., with polyethylene mulch and drip irrigation. Nitrogen was injected weekly at 0.28 (50), 0.56 (100), 0.84 (150), 1.12 (200), and 1.40 (250) kg N/ha per day (kg·ha-1 for season) for `Oso Grande' and `Sweet Charlie' in 1991-92 season and for `Oso Grande' and `Seascape' in 1992-1993 season. Nitrogen fertilization in 1991-1992, over the range of 0.28 to 1.40 kg N/ha per day, had no significant effect on early (November to January) strawberry yields. March (the largest production month) yield and total-season yield increased with increasing N fertilization to 0.76 and 0.54 kg N/ha per day, respectively. Nitrogen fertilization did not affect yields of strawberry in 1992-93. Fruit firmness and average fruit weight were not affected by N fertilization from 0.28 to 1.40 kg N/ha per day. Nitrogen fertilization increased whole leaf N, leaf blade N, and petiole sap nitrate-N concentrations linearly for most sampling dates in both years. Early yields were greater for `Sweet Charlie' than `Oso Grande'. Yields were greater for `Oso Grande' during March, and total-season yields were similar for both cultivars in 1991-92. `Oso Grande' had greater early, March, and total yields than `Seascape' in 1992-93.

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Earl E. Albregts, George J. Hochnmth, Craig K. Chandler, John Cornell, and Jay Harrison

`Oso Grande' and `Sweet Charlie' strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) in 1991-92 and `Oso Grande' and `Seascape' in 1992-93 were grown in a K fertilization study using polyethylene-mulched and fumigated beds. Potassium was injected weekly into the drip irrigation system at 0.28,0.56,0.84, 1.12, and 1.40 kg K/ha per day. Early, March, and total-season marketable fruit yields were not affected by K rate during either season. The average fruit weight of `Oso Grande' for the early, March, and total-season harvest periods in the 1992-93 season decreased with increased K rate. For the same harvest periods, `Seascape' average fruit weight increased, decreased, and did not change, respectively, with increased K rate. Cull fruit yield during both seasons and fruit firmness during the 1992-93 season were not affected by K rate. Petiole sap, whole leaf, and leaf blade K concentrations increased with increasing K rates on most sampling dates during both seasons. `Oso Grande' and `Sweet Charlie' produced similar total marketable fruit yields the first season, but `Oso Grande' produced higher total yields than `Seascape' during all harvest periods of the second season.