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Thomas R. Gordon, Sharon C. Kirkpatrick, Douglas V. Shaw and Kirk D. Larson

Strawberry cultivars Selva and Camarosa (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) were grown at a high elevation nursery in soil that was either naturally infested with Verticillium dahliae or was rendered pathogen-free through preplant fumigation with 2 methyl bromide: 1 chloropicrin (wt/wt) at 392 kg·ha-1. Plants grown in fumigated soil were inoculated with a conidial suspension of V. dahliae, prior to establishment. Just prior to harvest, plants were rated for disease based on symptoms of Verticillium wilt. At the same time, petiole samples were taken from mother plants and each of three generations of runner plants, along with the stolons subtending each of the sampled runner plants. Petioles and stolons were cultured to assay for the presence of V. dahliae, and scored as either infected or not infected. The experiment was conducted in each of two successive years, and the following conclusions were supported by results obtained in both years. First, symptoms of Verticillium wilt on mother plants of both cultivars were highly correlated with recovery of V. dahliae from petioles, but runner plants were consistently free of symptoms even though they were often infected. Second, runner plants sustained lower infection frequencies than mother plants, with the differences being significant in most cases. Lastly, infection of runner plants was due, at least in part, to transfer of inoculum from infected mother plants; in some cases this appears to have been the exclusive mode of infection.

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Deirdre M. Holcroft and Adel A. Kader

Anthocyanin concentrations increased in both external and internal tissues of `Selva' strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) stored in air at 5 °C for 10 days, but the increase was lower in fruit stored in air enriched with 10 or 20 kPa CO2. Flesh red color was less intense in CO2 storage than in air storage. Activities of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and UDP glucose: flavonoid glucosyltransferase (GT) decreased during storage, with decreases being greater in both external and internal tissues of strawberry fruit stored in air + 20 kPa CO2 than in those kept in air. Activities of both PAL and GT in external tissues of strawberries stored in air + 10 kPa CO2 were similar to those in fruit stored in air, while enzyme activities in internal tissues more closely resembled those from fruit stored in air + 20 kPa CO2. Phenolic compounds increased during storage but were not affected by the storage atmosphere. The pH increased and titratable acidity decreased during storage; these effects were enhanced in internal tissues by the CO2 treatments, and may in turn have influenced anthocyanin expression.

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Oleg Daugovish, Hai Su and W. Douglas Gubler

Bare-root daughter plants of strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) were inoculated with Colletotrichum acutatum, the cause of crown rot, root rot, and fruit rot of strawberry in California. Plants were subsequently dipped in fungicide solutions or washed with running tap water immediately before planting in Summer and Fall 2002 and Fall 2004. Fungicide treatments reduced plant dieback by up to 92% in fruit production fields. Plants treated with azoxystrobin, the premixtures of boscalid + pyraclostrobin and cyprodinil + fludioxonil had 50% to 92% reduction in disease incidence, increased canopy size by more than 100%, and produced significantly higher marketable yields in all planting dates than the inoculated plants that were not treated with the fungicides. Chlorothalonil and captan also significantly reduced disease incidence but did not consistently increase marketable yield compared with the untreated, inoculated control. The effects of propiconazole and trifloxystrobin were inconsistent in reducing disease incidence. Water wash did not reduce root and crown disease incidence but significantly increased marketable yields by 13% over the untreated, inoculated controls in one of two plantings. No pretransplant treatments provided protection against fruit and foliar infection; thus, in-season fungicide applications would be necessary for disease control in commercial production fields if environmental conditions favored disease development.

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Olya Rysin, Amanda McWhirt, Gina Fernandez, Frank J. Louws and Michelle Schroeder-Moreno

In this study, we investigate the economic viability and environmental impact of three different soil management systems used for strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) production in the southeastern United States: 1) a conventional production system that is based on the current production practices implemented by growers, 2) a nonfumigated compost system with summer cover crop rotations and beneficial soil inoculants, and 3) an organic production system that includes practices approved for use under the National Organic Program (NOP). Under our assumptions, all three systems resulted in positive net returns estimated at $14,979, $11,100, and $19,394 per acre, respectively. The nonfumigated compost system and organic system also both resulted in considerable reductions in negative environmental and human health impacts measured by a set of selected indicators. For example, the total number of lethal doses (LD50) applied per acre from all chemicals used in each system and measuring acute human risk associated with each system declined from 118,000 doses/acre in the conventional system to 6649 doses/acre in the compost system and to 0 doses/acre in the organic system. Chronic human health risk, groundwater pollution risk, and fertilizer use declined as well in the compost and organic systems as compared with the conventional system.

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Thomas G. Bottoms, Mark P. Bolda, Mark L. Gaskell and Timothy K. Hartz

Diagnosis and recommendation integrated system (DRIS) leaf blade and petiole optimum nutrient ranges were developed through tissue sampling in 53 commercial strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) fields in the coastal valleys of central California in 2010 and 2011. All fields were in an annual production system using the day-neutral cultivar Albion. Leaf blades and petioles were sampled five times from early flowering through the fruit harvest period. Data on soil nutrient availability and grower fertilization practices were also collected. DRIS analysis was used to develop nutrient optimum ranges based on nutrient concentrations observed in nutritionally balanced, high-yield fields. Blade nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) concentrations declined from the vegetative stage until the main harvest period, and stabilized thereafter. Blade calcium (Ca), boron (B), and iron (Fe) increased over time while magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu) decreased. The blade N optimum range was lower than previously published sufficiency ranges during the fruit harvest period, and the Zn optimum range was lower throughout the season. Other nutrients were in general agreement with previously established sufficiency ranges with the exception of Ca, Mn, and Fe, which were higher. Petiole nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) was highly variable among high-yield fields, was not correlated with soil NO3-N at any growth stage, and was therefore of limited value as an indicator of crop N status. Comparison of soil nutrient availability with grower fertilization practices suggested that significant improvement in fertilizer management was possible.

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Douglas V. Shaw, Thomas R. Gordon, Kirk D. Larson and Sharon C. Kirkpatrick

Mother plants from strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) genotypes susceptible to and resistant to verticillium (Verticillium dahliae Kleb.) were inoculated with this pathogen in a high elevation nursery. The infection rate for mother plants was 77.3% ± 7.5% and 80.7% ± 5.4% for resistant and susceptible genotypes, respectively. Conversely, the percentage of runner plants identified as infected by postharvest petiole assay that were produced by these inoculated mother plants differed significantly (P < 0.01) between sets of genotypes, 25.1% ± 3.7% and 59.8% ± 5.3% for resistant and susceptible genotypes, respectively. The percentage of runner plants from inoculated mothers that eventually collapsed in the fruit production field was larger than the percentage identified as infected by petiole assay for susceptible genotypes (68.9% ± 4.1%), and substantially less than the pre-plant infected fraction for resistant genotypes (3.5% ± 1.4%). Yield for runner plants from inoculated mothers was reduced by 73% to 75% for susceptible genotypes, and by 7% to 15% for resistant genotypes. The percentage of runner plants identified as infected in the nursery was correlated with the percentage of plants that collapsed in the fruiting field (r = 0.91, P < 0.01) and with yield in infested plots (r = -0.79, P < 0.01). Most of the effect of this disease was expressed as plant collapse, but the presence of yield reductions larger than the rate of plant collapse demonstrated substantial sub-lethal effects as well.

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George J. Hochmuth, Salvadore J. Locascio, Stephen R. Kostewicz and Frank G. Martin

Three irrigation treatments (none, drip, and sprinkler) and eight rowcover treatments were evaluated for their capacity to provide freeze protection for strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) in a split-plot factorial field experiment. The period under study included 20 freeze events, two events with minima of -9.5C and -10.0C. With no freeze protection, up to 93% of the flowers were damaged by freezes. Among sprinkler-irrigated plants, an average of only 10% flowers were damaged due to the freezes. Heavy-weight rowcovers (polyethylene blanket and polypropylene, 30 and 50 g·m-2, respectively) protected strawberry flowers as well as sprinkler irrigation to -4.4C. Early yield (December-January) from unprotected plants was negligible. Early yields from plants protected with a 3.2-mm polyethylene blanket or a 50 g·m-2 polypropylene cover were equal to yields obtained with sprinkler-protected plants. Combinations of sprinkler and certain rowcover treatments provided for better fruit production than either treatment alone. Drip irrigation alone provided no protection from freezes. All strawberry plants recovered from freeze damage and total-season yields were similar with all irrigation methods and rowcovers.

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Erik J. Sacks and Douglas V. Shaw

Components of variance were estimated for 10 strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) color traits to determine their relative importance and to design optimal sampling strategies. The color attributes of >2000 fruit from 47 genotypes from the Univ. of California Strawberry Improvement Program were evaluated over three harvest dates (HDs) in one growing season. Measurements were obtained for a moderate number of fruit from each genotype on each date, and two measurements were obtained for each trait on all fruit. Variances for HDs were nonsignificant or small (0% to 8% of the total variance). Genotype × date variances were highly significant but small (≤6% of the total) for all color traits except internal hue (14% of the total). For external color traits, the within-fruit variance was greater than the among-fruit variance (16% to 64% and 0% to 14% of the total, respectively). For internal color traits, the among-fruit variance was greater than the within-fruit variance (20% to 37% and 9% to 19% of the total, respectively). Obtaining two measurements per fruit for several fruit on one HD is an efficient strategy for characterizing a genotype's fruit color; seven to 22 fruit are needed to estimate a genotype's fruit color within 2 units (Commission Internationale de L'Eclairage L*a*b* or degrees) with 95% confidence.

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Brent L. Black

Balancing vegetative growth with fruiting is a primary concern in strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) production. Where nursery plant selection and preconditioning are inadequate for runner control, additional approaches are needed. The gibberellin biosynthesis inhibitor prohexadione-Ca (commercial formulation Apogee) was tested over two seasons for suppressing fall runners of `Chandler' plug plants in a cold-climate annual hill production system. Prohexadione-Ca was applied as a foliar spray at active ingredient concentrations ranging from 60 to 480 mg·L-1, either as a single application 1 week after planting, or repeated at 3-week intervals. The lowest rate resulted in inadequate runner control, with some runners producing malformed daughter plants. Higher rates resulted in 57% to 93% reductions in fall runner numbers, with a concomitant increase in fall branch crown formation. There were no effects of the prohexadione-Ca treatments on plant morphology the following spring, and no adverse effects on fruit characteristics or yield. Chemical names used: prohexadione-calcium, calcium 3-oxido-4-propionyl-5-oxo-3-cyclohexene-carboxylate.

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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.