|Authors: ||E. Tsormpatsidis, E. Vysini, T. Papanikolopoulos|
|Keywords: ||plug plants, bare root plants, 'Florida Fortuna', 'Camarosa', 'San Andreas', fruit quality|
There has been a tremendous increase in the strawberry production in Greece over the last decade.
The production system is currently based on 'Camarosa' with more than 95% of the production being exported.
However, the current system needs to be adapted to the new challenges especially focusing on the early season market.
For this purpose two experiments have been conducted.
In the first, bare root plants of cultivar 'Camarosa' (control) were compared with plug plants of the same cultivar in relation to production.
The plug plants started production 27 days earlier than the bare root plants producing 50% of the cropping potential 11 days earlier.
In total there was a 38 and 37% increase in 'Camarosa' total yield and berry number, respectively, compared to bare root plants.
In the second experiment, a direct comparison of plug plants of 'Camarosa', 'Florida Fortuna' and 'San Andreas' was made in terms of early to medium season production.
The strawberry 'Florida Fortuna' was by far the earliest cultivar producing fruit 33-45 days earlier than 'Camarosa' and 'San Andreas'. In addition, 'Florida Fortuna' produced 391 and 425 g more yield than 'San Andreas' and 'Camarosa', respectively at the end of the trial.
However, the key finding was that 'Florida Fortuna' maintained higher sugar to acid ratio than 'Camarosa' and 'San Andreas' despite the heavier production.
The higher sugar to acid ratio of 'Florida FortunaRSQUO was a result of the lower acid (%) throughout the whole season compared to the other cultivars tested.
It can be concluded that the type of the plant material in combination with proper cultivar can have a significant impact in the early season market.
The cultivar 'Florida Fortuna' has the ability to produce very early in the season and at the same time to maintain a constant high fruit size and quality throughout the season despite the heavy crop load, a characteristic of great value for future breeding programs.
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