Horticultural potential of producing Florida strawberry cultivars under high tunnels

Teresa P. Salame, Bielinski M. Santos, Craig K. Chandler, Steven A. Sargent

Abstract


Protected strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) production is widely used in Europe and other parts of the world. However, in California and Florida open-field production remains the main production system. Strawberry production in high tunnels could potentially increase yield, improve fruit quality, promote early ripening, reduce pest incidence and rain damage. If adopted in Florida, this technology would open new opportunities for long-term changes on strawberry production practices and an eventual increase in grower profits. The objective of this study was to compare growth, fruit earliness and yield of strawberry cultivars grown under tunnels and in open fields. The cultivars ‘Strawberry Festival’, ‘Winter Dawn’ and ‘Florida Elyana’ were tested inside of 16-ft high tunnels and in open fields during the 2007–08 season. Results showed that total marketable yields of ‘Strawberry Festival’, ‘Winter Dawn’, and ‘Florida Elyana’ increased by 39%, 87%, and 85%, respectively, in tunnels, compared with the open fields in the 2007–08 season when freeze temperatures occurred.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283