CURRENT STRAWBERRY RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
The University of Florida (UF) seeks to advance strawberry (Fragaria spp.) research through a team approach. Researchers in the areas of breeding, genomics, entomology, pathology, weed science, nematology and horticulture serve a 3,700 ha industry in Florida that provides winter strawberry fruit to the United States and Canada. UF cultivars comprise 70% of the Florida industry and are important internationally. The breeding program continues to prioritize early yield and postharvest quality while making new investments in flavor. Genomics research complements these efforts by characterization of novel genes in strawberry, which is enhanced by expressed sequence capture and assembly of the diploid strawberry genome. In entomology we are working to enhancing control of the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) while adjusting insecticidal programs to maintain active populations of mite predators. In pathology we have developed a disease model which can reduce sprays by up to half while achieving the same level of disease control. An automated web-based and cell-phone-based system alerts growers when to spray based on weather station data. Weed science and nematology have been impacted heavily by the transition away from methyl bromide soil fumigation. Control of weeds via preemergent herbicides sprayed under the polyethylene mulch and even application via the drip tape has been demonstrated. Hyperspectral reflectance and other imaging technologies have allowed the large-scale evaluation of alternative fumigants for nematode control. Finally, the horticulture program has developed methods to dramatically decrease water use without affecting yields and continues to evaluate the effectiveness of soilless and protected culture growing systems.
Whitaker, V.M., Price, J.F., Peres, N.A., MacRae, A.W., Santos, B.M., Folta, K.M. and Noling, J.W. (2014). CURRENT STRAWBERRY RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA. Acta Hortic. 1049, 161-166
alternative fumigants, breeding, disease modeling, genomics, preemergent herbicides, protected culture