Research Matters - Strawberry flowering update

The cost of strawberry transplants can be lowered by removing the tips of runners that hang down from tabletop production systems and rooting them in cellular trays.

Such transplants flower later and less uniformly than those rooted earlier and grown in "waiting beds" before being transplanted to produce fruit in December.

In the experiments described here, the tips of runners with two-to-four expanded leaves were removed at the end of July. The older leaves were removed leaving the tips plus the youngest fully-expanded leaf and these were then rooted in trays of 35 cells, each with a volume of 130ml.

One month later, two groups of plants were selected - one having their crowns above the surface of the rooting medium ("shallow") and one having their crowns below it ("deep"). Some of the deep transplants also had the rooting medium removed from around their crowns. The shallow transplants and the deep ones that had their crowns exposed all flowered earlier than the undisturbed deep transplants.

Measurements showed that the apical meristems of the early-flowering transplants were generally cooler by day than those of the late-flowering transplants. It appeared that the flowering performance of runners rooted in late July could probably be improved by keeping their crowns above the surface of the rooting medium.

- Dr Ken Cockshull, Associate Fellow, Warwick Crop Centre, University of Warwick

Flower Initiation in June-Bearing Strawberry as Affected by Crown Depth, Age & Size of Tray Plants by Yoshida and Motomura (2011). Journal of the Japanese Society for Horticultural Science 80(1): 26-31. This article can be downloaded as a PDF from www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jjshs1.


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