The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology
Vol. 79 No: 3
Crown branching and cropping potential in strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) can be enhanced by daylength treatments
T HYTÍNEN, P PALONEN, K MOUHU and O JUNTTILA
When strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) are produced in a greenhouse, usually two crops a year are obtained; in the fall and in the spring.To increase productivity, new cultivation techniques are needed.The aim of this study was to examine the effect of daylength treatments on the performance of strawberry plants to improve plant production protocols.The possibility of obtaining two successive crops during forcing was explored by exposing plants of cultivar Korona to two successive short day (SD) treatments followed by cold storage. The following daylength treatments were studied: 3 wk SD + 2 wk long day (LD) + 3 wk SD (3SD2LD3SD), 3 wk SD + 4 wk LD + 3 wk SD (3SD4LD3SD), and 10 wk SD (10SD). In addition, crown branching was studied in plants subjected to SD treatments.Two successive SD treatments enabled two successive flowering and cropping periods during greenhouse forcing after eight weeks of cold storage.The first SD treatment caused crown branching and induced flowering in the apical meristem of the maincrown and in the oldest axillary meristem(s), whereas younger axillary meristems were induced during the second SD treatment. Marketable yield and the number of inflorescences were comparable in 3SD4LD3SD and 10SD, but considerably lower in 3SD2LD3SD. However, this study demonstrated the high cropping potential of artificially SD treated plants, which makes them a potential alternative for greenhouse strawberry cultivation. Multi-crowned plants of ┤Korona` can be produced by subjecting young plants to a three week SD treatment, and crown branches can be induced to flowering by a new SD treatment resulting in a very high cropping potential. Induced plants can be stored at -1°C for later forcing.
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