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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Summary of USDA Plasticulture Research at the Wye Research and Education Center

Author
item Takeda, Fumiomi

Submitted to: Advances in Strawberry Research
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 12, 2004
Publication Date: May 20, 2004
Citation: Takeda, F. 2004. Summary of usda plasticulture research at the wye research and education center. Advances in Strawberry Research. P. 1-3.

Interpretive Summary: The annual plasticulture strawberry production system is now used to produce strawberries in the mid-Atlantic coast region. There are several benefits to growing strawberries in plastic covered raised beds over the traditional matted row culture system such as an earlier harvest, cleaner fruit, ease of picking, and higher yields. But, one problem to date has been the inability of the strawberry nurseries to generate enough runner tips for production of transplants that must be established in the field from mid August to early September. We carried out research to develop new approaches for producing timely, disease-free strawberry transplants. Runner tips were harvested from plants growing in a greenhouse in July, which were sized and either cold stored up to six weeks or plugged immediately, and in August. Fresh plugged July tips produced more roots than cold stored runner tips during the propagation phase. The survival rate of cold stored and over- and under-sized runner tips was unacceptably low. All July plugged transplants flowered in the fall which suggested that they are ideal transplants for fall and winter fruit production in heated greenhouses. In the spring, July plugged 'Chandler' transplants produced ¼-lb. more fruit than those plugged in August. The results of our studies showed that improved plant handling techniques and cold storage environment are needed to reduce loss of propagation material. It also showed that runner tip size and maturity must be scrutinized to make best use of plant propagation facility. Although an increased cost is associated with plugging tips earlier and holding them in containers for about a month until they are established in the field, it may have utility in the mid-Atlantic coast region because of their potential for fall fruit production and higher yields in the spring.

Technical Abstract: The annual plasticulture strawberry production system is now used to produce strawberries in the mid-Atlantic coast region. There are several benefits to growing strawberries in plastic covered raised beds over the traditional matted row culture system such as an earlier harvest, cleaner fruit, ease of picking, and higher yields. But, one problem to date has been the inability of the strawberry nurseries to generate enough runner tips for production of transplants that must be established in the field from mid August to early September. We carried out research to develop new approaches for producing timely, disease-free strawberry transplants. Runner tips were harvested from plants growing in a greenhouse in July, which were sized and either cold stored up to six weeks or plugged immediately, and in August. Fresh plugged July tips produced more roots than cold stored runner tips during the propagation phase. The survival rate of cold stored and over- and under-sized runner tips was unacceptable. All July plugged transplants flowered in the fall which suggested that they are ideal transplants for fall and winter fruit production in heated greenhouses. In the spring, July plugged 'Chandler' transplants produced ¼-lb. more fruit than those plugged in August. The results of our studies showed that improved plant handling techniques and cold storage environment are needed to reduce loss of propagation material. It also showed that runner tip size and maturity must be scrutinized to make best use of plant propagation facility. Although an increased cost is associated with plugging tips earlier and holding them in containers for about a month until they are established in the field, it may have utility in the mid-Atlantic coast region because of their potential for fall fruit production and higher yields in the spring.

Last Modified: 12/17/2014
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