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Elden J. Stang and Gavin G. Weis

`Raritan' and `Guardian' strawberry were grown in the matted row system with controlled plant densities of 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 plants/0.09m2 for comparison to a non-thinned matted row averaging 9 plants/0.09m2. Nitrogen treatments were superimposed on plant spacings at 3 week intervals in preharvest and postharvest applications. Total seasonal available N was 0, 36, 54 and 76 kg/ha. Fruit yield per plant decreased as plant population increased. Berry size declined with increased plant population but number of fruit per plant was not influenced. For both cultivars, plant populations of 4 to 5 plants/0.09m2 resulted in maximum fruit yield. Number of branch crowns for all treatments was 2.5-3.5/plant in the second growing season. Branch crown numbers were reduced with higher plant populations. N effects were independent of plant population effects and did not compensate for lower yields at low plant populations in more or larger berries. Optimum water management may be more important than N fertilizer in determing strawberry plant growth and yield.

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Rumphan Koslanund and Douglas. D. Archbold

Strawberry cultivars grown for “pre-picked” markets need to maintain quality during short-term postharvest storage in contrast to those destined for “U-pick” harvest. However, very little information is available on berry quality during postharvest storage of cultivars grown in matted-row culture in eastern North America. To determine how rapidly berry quality may change and identify cultivars best-suited for pre-picked markets, the postharvest performance of 16 cultivars grown in matted rows was compared. Berries were sampled at harvest, after 3 days of 4 °C storage within sealed plastic bags, and after 3 subsequent days at 20 °C. Quality traits assessed included fruit firmness, color, titratable acidity, pH, soluble solids, and percent weight loss. At harvest, berry quality varied by cultivar and from early to late harvest dates. Berry quality changed very little during 4 °C storage. During the subsequent 20 °C storage, berry quality traits changed more for some cultivars than others. In particular, soft fruit at harvest and/or a rapid decline in berry firmness indicated that several cultivars were not suited for short-term storage. Based on the cumulative data, several cultivars can be identified as better suited for pre-picked markets.

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Andrew R. Jamieson and Katherine Sanford

Twelve clones of `Blomidon' strawberry (Fragaria xananassa) exhibiting a range of severity of June Yellows symptoms were grown in field plots to measure effects on productivity. Field plot layout was a randomized block design with four blocks. Plots were matted rows developed from five plants spaced at 45 cm inrow. Fruit samples were frozen and later analyzed for soluble solids concentration, total acidity, and pH. In the greenhouse, self-pollinated seedlings grown from these clones were rated for symptom expression as an additional measure of severity of June Yellows. Large differences in marketable yields were recorded, ranging from 1.94 t·ha–1 to 14.67 t·ha–1. Clones with severe symptoms produced smaller fruit. Small clonal differences were measured in total acidity and pH. A strong correlation was observed between the percentage of symptomless seedlings and the yield of the parental clone. This may lead to a test to predict whether a new cultivar will succumb to June Yellows.

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A.W. Caylor, W.A. Dozier Jr., G. Wehtje, D.G. Himelrick, J.A. McGuire and J.A. Pitts

The postemergence-active herbicides lactofen, fomesafen, and acifluorfen were applied to established matted-row strawberry plants (Fragaria × ananassa) and evaluated for broadleaf weed control and foliar phytotoxicity. Strawberries were evaluated for yield and fruit quality. Treatments were applied following June renovation. All herbicide treatments resulted in acceptable control of broadleaf weeds present at the time of application; however, sicklepod (Cassia obtusifolia) germinated after herbicide application. All treatments caused foliar injury within 3 days after application. No injury symptoms were evident 21 days after treatment due to new foliage development. Fomesafen and acifluorfen were the only herbicides to suppress runner count. Yields the following year were not reduced by herbicide treatments. Chemical names used: (±)-2-ethoxy-l-methy1-2-oxoethyl 5-[2-chloro-4-(trifluoromethyl) phenoxy]-2-nitrobenzate (lactofen); 5-[2-chloro-4-(trifluoromethyl)phenoxy] -N -(methylsu1fonyl)-2-nitrobenzamide (fomesafen); 5-[2-chloro-4-(trifluoromethyl)phenoxy]-2-nitrobenzoic acid (acifluorfen).

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Chrislyn A. Particka and James F. Hancock

Black root rot (BRR) is a widespread disease of strawberry (Fragari×ananassa Duchnesne) that causes the death of feeder roots and the degradation of structural roots. The major causal organisms of BRR include Rhizoctonia fragariae Husain and W.E. McKeen, Pythium Pringsh., and Pratylenchus penetrans (Cobb) Filipjev and Schuurmans Stekhoven. The current method of control for black root rot is methyl-bromide fumigation; however, methyl bromide is scheduled to be phased out in 2005, and its effects are short-lived in matted-row systems. The objectives of the study were to measure levels of tolerance to BRR in 20 strawberry genotypes and to determine which pathogens were present in the soil. The genotypes were planted in four blocks each of methyl-bromide fumigated and nonfumigated soil, and were evaluated for crown number, number of flowers per crown, yield, and average berry weight over 2 years. The results showed that all three pathogens were present in the field, and that there was a significant genotype × fumigation interaction for yield and crown number in both years. The cultivars Bounty, Cabot, and Cavendish, all released from the breeding program in Nova Scotia, displayed tolerance to the pathogens that cause BRR.

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Douglas D. Archbold and Charles T MacKown

Three gel polymers, Hydrosource, REAP, and Agri-gel, wetted with solutions of 15N-ammonium nitrate, were evaluated for controlled release of fertilizer nitrogen (N) to strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) in the greenhouse and field. Container-grown plants of `Earliglow' and `Allstar' were harvested every 2 weeks for 8 weeks. Field-grown plants of the same cultivars were collected from matted rows after harvest, and fruit were collected during harvest. Plant and fruit tissues were analyzed for total % N and atom % & 15N, and total fertilizer N recovery was calculated. For the container-grown plants, total % N differed by cultivar, `Earliglow' > `Allstar', and harvest date, declining during 8 weeks. Treatment effects on total % N were observed only in the field study, with Agri-gel showing the highest value. In the greenhouse study, Hydrosource and Agri-gel gave the highest tissue enrichments from fertilizer N. In the field study, REAP and Agri-gel gave the highest enrichments. In spite of the greater tissue enrichments, however, no gel polymer significantly increased total fertilizer N recovery in either study.

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D.T. Handley and M.A. Schupp

Twelve strawberry varieties established in matted row plots in 1993 were treated with insecticides for tarnished plant bug and strawberry bud weevil or left untreated during 1994. Honeoye and Cavendish had the highest yields of marketable fruit. Oka, Jewel, Chambly, and Kent also had relatively high yields. Lateglow, Blomidon, Seneca, NY 1424, Settler, and Governor Simcoe had lower yields than the other varieties. Tarnished plant bug populations were very small during the 1994 season and the injury levels observed were relatively low. Feeding pressure on the plants may have been too low for all differences in susceptibility between varieties to be expressed. Governor Simcoe, Cavendish, and Oka had the lowest injury levels. Kent, Lateglow, and Seneca had the highest levels of injury. Insecticide sprays significantly reduced injury for all varieties except Cavendish and Governor Simcoe. The number of flower buds killed by strawberry bud weevil differed very little between varieties and spray treatments. No obvious differences in susceptibility to this injury were observed in this trial.

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Chrislyn A. Drake* and James F. Hancock

Black root rot is a serious disease of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) that causes the death of feeder roots, the degradation and blackening of structural roots, and an overall decrease in plant vigor and productivity. The causal organisms of black root rot are Rhizoctonia fragariae, Pythium sp. and Pratylenchus penetrans (the root lesion nematode). Each organism alone can cause extensive damage to strawberry roots, but studies have shown that black root rot may be more severe when all organisms are present, indicating there is an interaction between the fungal organisms and the nematode. The current method of control for black root rot is methyl-bromide fumigation; however, methyl bromide is to be phased out by 2005, and it is not very effective in perennial matted-row systems. The objectives of the study are to measure levels of tolerance to black root rot in 21 strawberry genotypes. The genotypes were planted in four blocks each of methyl-bromide fumigated and non-fumigated soil, and were evaluated for crown, runner, and inflorescence number; yield; average berry weight; and root health. `Cavendish', `Kent', `Midway' and `Winona' showed the highest degree of tolerance, while `Jewel', `Mesabi', and LH50-4 (a F. virginiana genotype) were the poorest performers.

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Marvin P. Pritts and Greg English-Loeb

Strawberry clipper is considered to be a major pest on matted-row strawberries in the northern U.S. and Canada. This pest is thought to be so threatening that even a single clipped bud indicates the potential for serious and rapid damage. Conventional wisdom states that fields should be treated for clipper during warm weather if they have a history of clipper damage—even if fields have not been scouted. Thresholds (fi ve clipped buds per meter) are based on the assumption that one clipped bud is equivalent to the loss of one average-sized berry. However, our data show no correlation between clipper damage and yield in field surveys, and our artificial clipping studies have found that strawberry plants have the ability to compensate for flower bud loss by increasing allocation to other fruits. For example, in plots of cv. Jewel, no significant difference was found in total yields between plots with no flower bud removal and plots with all primary flower buds removed (an average of 100 clipped buds per meter)—so long as the clipping happened early in the season. An increase in the size of secondary and tertiary fruit balanced the reduced fruit numbers. Similar trends were found with Kent. The ability to compensate for early flower bud loss also was assessed in a separate study with 10 strawberry cultivars. These studies suggest that our current threshold for clipper may be nearly two orders of magnitude too low, and that clipper may not be a true economic pest of strawberry.

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Craig Dilley and Gail Nonnecke

Sustainable strawberry production depends on effective weed and soil management. Alternative weed management strategies are needed because few herbicides are registered for use in matted-row strawberry culture. Soil analyses are often measured in terms of chemical and physical properties alone. Measuring biological indicators of soil quality that are sensitive to changes in the environment can enhance these analyses. The experiment compared the effects of four weed management systems on weed growth, soil quality properties, and strawberry yield, growth, and development. Treatments were killed-cover crop mixture of hairy vetch (Viciavillosa) and cereal rye (Secalecereale); compost + corn gluten meal + straw mulch; conventional herbicide; and methyl bromide soil fumigation. Results indicated that there were no differences in percentage of weed cover or number of strawberry runners between the four weed management treatments in the planting year (July or Aug. 2004). The soil quality parameters, infiltration rate, soil bulk density, earthworm number, and total porosity were similar for all treatments. Plots that received the straw mulch treatment had a soil volumetric water content 20% higher and air-filled porosity that was 26% higher than the average of other treatments. Although treatment plots received similar N, leaf nutrient analysis showed that plants receiving the straw mulch + corn gluten meal treatment had a similar amount of total N when compared to the conventional and methyl bromide treatments, but was 21% higher than the killed-cover crop treatment.