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Colleen Kennedy, Tomas N. Hasing, and Vance M. Whitaker

Wild Fragaria supercore accessions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Plant Germplasm System collection have been evaluated in temperate climates; however, there have been no characterizations of supercore accessions in non-temperate climates or in annualized production systems. Because Florida can serve as a model system for annualized winter and spring production worldwide, the objective of this study was to characterize an elite group of wild strawberry accessions under field and high tunnel production systems for mortality and the phenological responses of flowering and runner production. The wild accessions along with cultivars were planted in open-field and high tunnel production environments in a randomized complete block design within each environment with raised beds serving as blocks. Four replications of five-plant plots were planted in each of two environments in 2 separate years. With the exception of Darrow 72, F. chiloensis accessions did not perform well in the minimum-chill annualized winter production system. The accessions of this species generally did not flower and were prolific instead in runner production. The F. virginiana accessions performed better with F. virginiana subsps. grayana and virginiana accessions appearing more adapted for minimum-chill winter production because they flowered well and had few runners. We conclude that NC 96-48-1 (PI 612324), NC 95-21-1 (PI 612569), Darrow 72 (PI 236579), and RH 30 (PI 612499) would be attractive for inclusion in germplasm development in a minimal-chill, winter annual production system. In addition to producing many flowers and few runners, these accessions had low mortality.

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Clinton J. Hunnicutt, Andrew W. MacRae, and Vance M. Whitaker

With the reduction in the availability of methyl bromide as a soil fumigant for Florida strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) culture, annual broadleaf weeds are expected to become increasingly troublesome to control. Recent studies show that along with the new fumigant systems, separate but complementary herbicide applications throughout the growing season will also be a necessity for acceptable weed control. The purpose of the study reported herein was to evaluate the impacts of multiple rates of the herbicide clopyralid on the growth and fruit production of four annual strawberry cultivars. Two greenhouse trials were conducted, evaluating the application of varying rates of clopyralid as a directed spray to well-established, mature plants of ‘Strawberry Festival’, ‘Florida Radiance’, ‘Treasure’, and Winterstar™ ‘FL 05–107’. Leaf production, leaf malformation, and marketable yield were evaluated to determine negative effects because of the physiological herbicidal effects, phytotoxic herbicidal effects, or both of clopyralid. Results from these studies showed that when clopyralid was applied at the maximum labeled rate of 3 oz/acre, less than 12% leaf malformation was observed among all cultivars, and marketable yield exhibited a linear increase as the rate of clopyralid increased, possibly due to a reduction in canopy coverage leading to more effective pollination.

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Vance M. Whitaker, Stan C. Hokanson, and James Bradeen

Black spot, incited by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae Wolf, is the most significant disease problem of landscape roses (Rosa hybrida L.) worldwide. The documented presence of pathogenic races necessitates that rose breeders screen germplasm with isolates that represent the range of D. rosae diversity for their target region. The objectives of this study were to characterize the genetic diversity of single-spore isolates from eastern North America and to examine their distribution according to geographic origin, host of origin, and race. Fifty isolates of D. rosae were collected from roses representing multiple horticultural classes in disparate locations across eastern North America and analyzed by amplified fragment length polymorphism. Considerable marker diversity among isolates was discovered, although phenetic and cladistic analyses revealed no significant clustering according to host of origin or race. Some clustering within collection locations suggested short-distance dispersal through asexual conidia. Lack of clustering resulting from geographic origin was consistent with movement of D. rosae on vegetatively propagated roses. Results suggest that field screening for black spot resistance in multiple locations may not be necessary; however, controlled inoculations with single-spore isolates representing known races is desirable as a result of the inherent limitations of field screening.

Free access

Vance M. Whitaker, Luis F. Osorio, Tomas Hasing, and Salvador Gezan

The University of Florida strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) breeding population has been continuously improved by recurrent selection since 1968. However, there is a lack of information on genetic parameters that may inform breeding decisions. Parameters were estimated in this population using 19 full-sib families from a 5 × 4 factorial mating design plus six additional biparental crosses and 14 control genotypes including some of the parents. During the 2010–11 season, clonal replicates of the seedling and parental genotypes were distributed within and among two field locations in west–central Florida. Twelve commercially important traits were measured including fruit chemical traits (soluble solids content and titratable acidity), other fruit and yield traits (early and total marketable yields, proportion of total cull fruit, proportion of misshapen fruit, proportion water-damaged fruit, and shape score), and vegetative traits (plant height and total runners). Heritabilities, genotype by environment interaction, and multiple correlations (phenotypic, genotypic, and genetic) were estimated using general mixed model analyses. Narrow-sense heritabilities varied from low to moderate (h 2 = 0.13 ± 0.07 to 0.32 ± 0.09) except for shape score (h 2 = 0.06 ± 0.04) and total average weight (h 2 = 0.52 ± 0.07). Broad-sense heritabilities were larger (H 2 = 0.18 ± 0.03 to 0.53 ± 0.04), and for more than half of the traits, over 50% of the total genetic variation was non-additive. Large genetic and genotypic correlations were found for some traits, most notably between soluble solids content and early marketable yield (–0.68 ± 0.22). Genetic gains for this pair of traits based on a Monte Carlo simulation illustrated the tradeoff between these two traits, showing that a 27% increase in early yield could be obtained through selection but at the expense of an 8% decrease in soluble solids. However, moderate gains can be made in both traits using the appropriate index coefficients.

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Tomas N. Hasing, Luis F. Osorio, and Vance M. Whitaker

Previous studies have recognized considerable variation in the soluble solids content (SSC) of strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa) during Florida’s fruiting season. Cultivars with stable fruit SSC over time would be valued in the commercial industry as a result of their more uniform quality. The within-season stability of 410 genotypes from the strawberry breeding program of the University of Florida was estimated using data from clonally replicated first-year seedlings and advanced selections evaluated at two locations over two consecutive seasons. Stability was measured using a linear regression approach. For each genotype, the SSC measured at different harvest dates was regressed on the mean SSC of an independent set of genotypes at each harvest date. Genotypes with steep slopes are sensitive to small environmental and physiological changes and are considered unstable compared with genotypes with slopes close to zero. Approximately 90% of individual genotype slopes were not different from the population slope value and were classified in the average stability group, whereas the remaining 10% were equally distributed between the unstable and stable groups. Although a preliminary genetic analysis indicated that SSC stability may have low narrow-sense heritability (h 2 = 0.06 ± 0.05), a group of genotypes exhibited stability across multiple environments. Soluble solids content stability and mean soluble solids were independent, and genotypes with both stable and high levels of SSC were observed.

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Emmanuel A. Torres-Quezada, Lincoln Zotarelli, Vance M. Whitaker, Bielinski M. Santos, and Ixchel Hernandez-Ochoa

The standard strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) production system in Florida uses bare-root transplants with three to five leaves; however, commercial transplants are typically variable in size. The objective of this experiment was to study the effects of transplant crown diameter on the subsequent performance of three short-day strawberry cultivars under central Florida conditions. Trials were carried out during the 2012–13 and 2013–14 growing seasons with six treatments resulting from the combination of three cultivars and two crown diameter categories. Transplants of ‘Florida Radiance’, ‘Strawberry Festival’, and WinterStar™ were sorted into two initial crown diameter size ranges: <10 mm and >10 mm. Treatments were established in a split-plot design with cultivars as the main plot and four replications. Dry plant biomass was collected at 6 weeks after transplant (WAT). Canopy diameter and crown diameter were measured at 6 and 18 WAT and fruit harvest started at 8 WAT. There were no interactions between cultivar and initial crown diameter for any of the measured variables. For early yield, larger crowns led to 46% (3.5 Mg·ha−1) and 38% (3.9 Mg·ha−1) higher early yield than smaller crowns in 2012–13 and 2013–14, respectively. Crown diameters >10 mm also resulted in 18% (23.5 Mg·ha−1) and 27% (17.4 Mg·ha−1) higher total yields in 2012–13 and 2013–14, respectively.

Free access

Steven J. MacKenzie, Craig K. Chandler, Tomas Hasing, and Vance M. Whitaker

In west–central Florida, strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) are harvested from early December to late March. The peak harvest occurs at the end of the season and lasts ≈1 month, usually from late February to mid-March. As the peak harvest progresses and temperatures increase, fruit become smaller and the soluble solids content (SSC) of fruit declines. The main objective of this study was to determine whether the progression of peak harvest results in a decline in SSC independent of temperature. In 2007 and 2008, recently opened flowers were tagged in the field on the first week into the peak bloom (WPB) and for 3 additional weeks thereafter. Three days after tagging, plants were transplanted to one of two constant temperature environments (15 or 22 °C). At maturity, the weight, SSC, and fruit development period (FDP) of tagged fruit were recorded. Fruit SSC was lower at the higher temperature (5.2% at 22 °C versus 6.5% at 15 °C) in both years. In 2007, SSC was not correlated with WPB, and in 2008, SSC was positively correlated with WPB at constant temperatures. In addition, the coefficient of determination (r 2) for a regression of SSC on mean temperature over the period 8 days before harvest was 0.73 for fruit harvested from fields between 2003 and 2009. These results indicate that rising temperature is a major factor responsible for the late-season decline of SSC in strawberry fruit in a subtropical production system.

Free access

Colleen Kennedy, Tomas N. Hasing, Natalia A. Peres, and Vance M. Whitaker

Many breeders have turned to wild relatives in search of beneficial traits such as disease resistance. In strawberry, the wild octoploid species Fragaria virginiana and F. chiloensis are fully interfertile with the cultivated species, F. ×ananassa, and are therefore potential sources of resistance. Powdery mildew may increase in economic importance in Florida in the near future as a result of the use of high tunnels and rowcovers for freeze protection, which limit free water and provide a favorable environment for disease development. The objective of this study was to screen an elite group of wild strawberry accessions for resistance to powdery mildew under two production systems. In 2010–11 and 2012–13, wild accessions, commercial standard cultivars, and susceptible controls were planted in open-field and high tunnel environments at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, FL. Although there was a significant year × genotype effect, some taxa showed high levels of resistance that were consistent across years. There was a high correlation for ratings of powdery mildew between the high tunnel and the open field for all genotypes (r = 0.89, P < 0.001). This information may be useful for breeders, because sources of resistance to powdery mildew are available within the tested genotypes. However, some accessions are highly susceptible to powdery mildew, and this must be considered when using these genotypes in breeding programs.

Free access

David C. Zlesak, Vance M. Whitaker, Steve George, and Stan C. Hokanson

Regional, replicated cultivar trials of landscape roses are an ongoing component of the Earth-Kind® program, which was started at Texas A&M University in the 1990s to support environmental landscape stewardship. The rose trials within the Earth-Kind program identify and promote the most regionally adapted rose cultivars and are conducted without fertilizers or pesticides and greatly reduced irrigation. Black spot (caused by Diplocarpon rosae Wolf) is the most serious disease of outdoor-grown roses worldwide as a result of the potential for rapid leaf yellowing and defoliation. Earth-Kind designated cultivars for the south–central United States and roses under trial in other regions or considered for future Earth-Kind trials (n = 73 roses) and two susceptible control cultivars were challenged with North American Races 3, 8, and 9 of D. rosae, which were previously characterized at the University of Minnesota. Young expanded leaves were inoculated using detached leaf assays. Lesion length (LL) was measured for susceptible reactions and cultivar ploidy was determined using root tip squashes. Diploid, triploid, and tetraploid cultivars (n = 20, 30, and 23, respectively) were identified, and race-specific resistances and partial resistances were also identified. Race-specific resistance was generally more prevalent in newer rose cultivars and rose cultivars more recently included in Earth-Kind trials. Nine cultivars were resistant to all three races (Brite Eyes™, ‘Grouse’, Home Run®, Knock Out®, Paprika™, Peachy Cream™, Pink Knock Out®, Rainbow Knock Out®, and Yellow Submarine™). Blushing Knock Out®, a sport of Knock Out®, was susceptible to Race 8. Partial resistance rank for LL was generally consistent across races for roses susceptible to multiple races. The application of these data includes: characterizing the minimum resistance level needed for roses to warrant inclusion in Earth-Kind field trials, the identification of additional race-specific resistance genes, identifying resistance-breaking isolates of D. rosae, understanding race composition in field trials based on infection patterns of key cultivars, selection of parents for resistance breeding efforts, and continued comparisons between LL and growing bodies of Earth-Kind field resistance data.

Open access

Natalia Salinas, Zhen Fan, Natalia Peres, Seonghee Lee, and Vance M. Whitaker

FaRCa1 is a major locus conferring resistance to anthracnose fruit rot (AFR) caused by Colletotrichum acutatum, an important pathogen of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa). The objective of this study was to characterize the effects of FaRCa1 on anthracnose root necrosis (ARN) via root inoculations and DNA marker characterization of the locus. A subgenome-specific high-resolution melting (HRM) marker for an insertion/deletion (InDel) near FaRCa1 was designed using the ‘Camarosa’ octoploid reference genome. The marker was used to genotype cultivars and advanced selections studied in two seasons. A root disease screening method was developed in which roots were cut and dipped in a spore suspension before planting, using a mixture of three local isolates of the C. acutatum species complex. ARN was indirectly scored by calculating image-based leaf area differences among inoculated and noninoculated plants. The allele of FaRCa1 conferring resistance to AFR also conferred a significant reduction in ARN. Thus, a robust and easily scored DNA test is now available to breeders for selecting for resistance to both the fruit and root forms of strawberry anthracnose.