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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #137399


item Takeda, Fumiomi

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/10/2003
Publication Date: 11/15/2003
Citation: Takeda, F., Hokanson, S.C. 2003. Strawberry fruit and plug plant production in the greenhouse. Acta Horticulturae. 626:283-285.

Interpretive Summary: The strawberry has long been an important fruit crop in the eastern United States, but in the last 10 years, production acreage has decreased and the once thriving field nursery business has disappeared. In the near future, greenhouse nurseries in the region may provide container plants for the expanding annual plasticulture and out-of-season strawberry production using protected environment techniques. This study was performed to evaluate soilless strawberry culture systems in a greenhouse to produce out-of-season runner tips from 'Chandler' mother plants used for generating container plants and to produce fruit on 'Camarosa', 'DIAMANTE', 'Everest', 'Seascape', and 'Selva' in controlled environment greenhouse. The results of the study indicated that each "mother" plant is capable of producing as many as 90 "daughter" plants by mid-summer, of which 96% developed into an acceptable container plant and performed satisfactorily in plasticulture system. The "DIAMANTE" and "Camarosa" strawberries were superior fruit producers during the October to June fruit production period in the greenhouse. Large, attractive fruits of "DIAMANTE" strawberry make this variety especially desirable for the winter holiday season. Daughter-plant and fruit production in the greenhouse will become economically viable option for growers in the eastern United States as field production may become more prohibitive with increased restrictions on pesticides.

Technical Abstract: Soilless greenhouse culture systems were used for winter fruit production and to produce stolon tips for plug plant propagation in the summer. In the first study, cold-stored, dormant 'frigo' transplants were potted in July and August. Rooted plants were transferred to a hydroponic system in early October. Harvest commenced in late October in day-neutral 'Aromas', 'DIAMANTE', 'Seascape', and 'Selva' and everbearing 'Everest' strawberries and in November in short-day 'Camarosa' and 'Chandler'. Seasonal yield ranged from ~1.2 kg for Camarosa to 0.6 kg for Selva. Fruit size averaged > 40g at the beginning and gradually declined to < 15 g in June. When flower removal was extended to mid October, the yield increased 0.4 kg per plant and berry weight increased 0.5 g. Earliness, compact growth habit, and fruit production on short, stiff peduncles (e.g. 'DIAMANTE') are desirable traits for high-density, protected cultivation of strawberries for winter fruit production. In the second study, in vitro grown 'Chandler' plants were established in NFT gutters to produce stolons. The one-time harvest of 'strings' resulted in more than 90 daughter plants per mother plant with a wide range in size. With exception of very small daughter plants (< 1 g), the performance of plug plants that were derived from stolon tips greater than 1 g was satisfactory in a plasticulture fruit production system.