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Low-Tunnel Strawberry Production: Comparison of Cultivars and Films

Lewers, Kimberly S., Lewers, Kim S., Fleisher, David H., Daughtry, Craig S. T., Vinyard, Bryan T.
International journal of fruit science 2020 v.20 no.S2 pp. S705
Fragaria ananassa, crop production, cultivars, fruit growing, fruit quality, harvest date, markets, polyethylene film, strawberries, Northeastern United States
Growing repeat-fruiting strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duchesne ex Rozier) under low tunnels can extend a strawberry harvest season from a few weeks to several months. Yields from multiple dayneutral cultivars have been compared under a single film, and yields from single cultivars have been compared under multiple films, but a study of possible cultivar and film interaction effects in low tunnels has not been reported. From 2014–2018, six cultivars were compared under low tunnels covered with a standard polyethylene film and three other films purported to improve growing conditions. Traits analyzed included total yield, percent rotted yield, berry weight, percent marketable yield, and average market score. ‘Monterey’ performed above average for all traits and better under TIII TES/IR 0.102 mm thick film (TES film) or Kool Lite Plus 0.152 mm thick polyethylene film (KL film). ‘Albion’ performed above average for all traits except yield and better under TES film or Clear TIII 0.102 mm thick polyethylene film (“standard clear” or SC film). ‘Portola’ performed above average for all traits except percent rotted yield, better under SC, KL, and TES films, and had lower percent rotted yield under TES film. Because TES film was helpful to the three better-performing cultivars evaluated, it was considered a good choice for growers to try in on-farm evaluations of available repeat-fruiting cultivars. Generally, yield, berry weight, market score, and percent marketable yield were correlated positively with each other.