|Authors: ||B.M. Santos, Pei-wen Huang, T.P. Salame-Donoso, A.J. Whidden|
|Keywords: ||Fragaria × ananassa, water management, crop establishment, freeze protection|
The major strawberry production area in Florida is undergoing water source competition with neighboring residents during production season.
In order to relief the water consumption issue, several water management practices were examined during transplant establishment, crop maintenance, and freeze protection.
During establishment, bare-root transplants were used with 10 days of sprinkler irrigation (SI) without foliar application of kaolin clay (control), and 8, 6 and 4 days of SI with or without kaolin clay application on the 9th, 7th and 5th day.
The results showed that the irrigation volumes could be reduced up to 40% with application of kaolin clay on the 7th day without affecting plant establishment and early yield.
The performance of strawberry cultivars growing inside and outside high tunnels (4.9-m high) was evaluated for the high tunnel study over three years.
The results indicated that early and total fruit weight increased by 28 and 55%, respectively, across cultivars and no additional freeze protection was needed.
The freeze protection study was conducted with practices of reduced sprinkler irrigation, heavy covers, light covers, and high tunnels in comparison of standard sprinkler irrigation.
The data showed early to total yield were higher with heavy covers, light covers, and high tunnels than with regular or reduced sprinkler irrigation, which might enable growers to save about 300 m3 of water per freezing or near freezing event.
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