Effects of Short Day Conditioning, Chilling and GA3 Treatments to Yield and Fruit Quality in Strawberry Plug Transplants Aiming Early Fruit Production
AbstractIn this study, we tested the effects of short day (SD), chilling (Ch) and gibberalic acid (GA3) treatments on the yield and fruit characteristics of ‘Camarosa’ and ‘Sweet Charlie’ plug plants under a freeze-protected greenhouse in Mediterranean conditions for two growing seasons in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. The treatments included control (ambient day length and temperature); SD (8 h days) and ambient temperature; SD + Chilling (Ch) (18/12°C day/night temperatures); SD + Ch (10°C); SD + Ch (2°C); and, GA3 (10 ppm applied to the plants in November). In each growing season, the plug plants were planted in mid-August using bag culture. Yield, fruit weight, firmness, total soluble solids (SS), titratable acidity (TA), and SS/TA ratio were investigated. Considerable amounts of early yield (March and April) were recovered from ‘Sweet Charlie’; 116 and 72 g/plant in the first and second growing seasons, respectively. ‘Sweet Charlie’ also had consistently higher total yield than ‘Camarosa’ (457 vs. 400 g/plant in the 2006-2007 season and 446 vs. 406 g/plant in the 2007-2008 season). Treatment did not have a consistent effect on the fruit quality traits measured. The results indicated that although SD conditioning, Ch and GA3 treatments may have an effect on the total and early yield of strawberries, these effects may be cultivar-dependent and further regulated by environmental factors. Therefore, we propose that low-chilling varieties be utilized for early fruit production that can initiate flower buds in warmer, longer days.
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