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Gina E. Fernandez, Laura M. Butler and Frank J. Louws

Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) `Chandler' plants from three sources were grown in the annual hill plasticulture system during two growing seasons (1996-97 and 1997-98). These trials evaluated the yield and vegetative performance of bareroot plants from Prince Edward Island and Ontario, Canada, and plug plant tips that were rooted in North Carolina but obtained from Ontario Canada. At the end of the season, total and marketable yields and fruit weight were not different among the plant sources. In addition, plants from all three plant sources produced equivalent yields on a weekly basis. Monthly whole plant harvests revealed that plant source did not affect leaf area, root, crown, leaf, flower or fruit dry weight during most of the growing season. In addition, plant growth parameters (specific leaf area, leaf area ratio, leaf weight ratio, and root to shoot ratio) in general did not differ among plant source in any 1 month. Plant growth did show shifts in dry weight allocation and leaf area as the season progressed that were uniform among plant sources, with the majority of the growth occurring in the spring in the two months prior to harvest. This uniformity among plant sources will allow future research to emphasize plant production practices that may reduce the risk of pest and disease problems or optimize production practices favored by growers.

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Gina E. Fernandez, Laura M. Butler and Frank J. Louws

The growth and development of three strawberry cultivars commonly grown in a plasticulture system were documented. Strawberry plants were harvested monthly and divided by roots, crown, leaves, flowers, and fruit and then dried in an oven. The dry matter production and resource allocation proceeded along a predictable pattern of development. The establishment phase was characterized by an active period of growth of root, crown and leaves in the fall. Through the winter, the plants underwent slow growth, ending in a transition period in the late winter/early spring when resources were allocated to both vegetative and reproductive growth. In the spring, all plant parts received significantly increased allocation of, or redistribution of, resources. Cultivars of California origin, `Chandler' and `Camarosa', displayed similar trends in yield, dry matter production, seasonal resource allocation, and growth analysis variables throughout the season. `Sweet Charlie', a cultivar from Florida, showed lower dry matter accumulation and relative growth rate in the spring, higher harvest index and lower yield than the California cultivars.