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Programmed flowering of the F1 long-day strawberry cultivar ‘Elan’ with nitrogen and daylength manipulation

Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

Consumer demand for locally grown, high quality strawberries is increasing even though California, Florida and Mexico provide a year-round source of strawberries for the world market. In most of the US, locally grown strawberries are only available for a short time in late spring from seasonal fruiting short-day cultivars thus off-season strawberry production is an attractive option for growers. Seed propagated hybrids such as ‘Elan’ are becoming more widely available and offer an alternative to often low yielding cultivars used for off-season production. To determine whether or not ‘Elan’ could be programmed to flower with photoperiod or nitrogen, seedlings were fertilized with either 100 or 800 ppm nitrogen for 4 weeks in September beginning one week after exposure to either short days, the natural photoperiod, or long days, the natural photoperiod supplemented with 24 hours of incandescent radiation. Plants were then greenhouse forced under both photoperiods and floral phenology evaluated. Elevated nitrogen during floral initiation in September enhanced and accelerated flowering and plants receiving elevated nitrogen during initiation under long days flowered more than any other treatment. To determine whether or not flowering could be enhanced a second time in the same plants, another 4 week period of elevated nitrogen was provided in December and plant phenology evaluated through mid-January. Elevated nitrogen (800 ppm) in December enhanced December and January flowering. Seedlings were conditioned with elevated nitrogen for a third time in late spring then field planted (early summer) on raised beds with white or black plastic mulch. Elevated nitrogen in late spring enhanced yield in field production. No effects of mulch color, initiation photoperiod or interaction of considered factors were detected. Flowering differences detected in greenhouse studies translated into differences observed in the production field suggesting programmed fruiting with elevated fertilization under field or greenhouse conditions would be feasible.
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Copyright Info: © 2016, Edward F. Durner, licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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