Development and performance of soil-less systems for strawberry transplant production in Australia

M. Milinkovic, S.W. Mattner, L.T. House, F.C. Greenhalgh
Soil-less systems were evaluated for the production of strawberry transplants, and the performance of the transplants was assessed for runner production in the field. The number of stolon tips and plug plants produced using a hydroponic system was greater (by an average of 88%) in a screenhouse than when not under cover. In the screenhouse, yields of transplants of most cultivars were higher (by up to 90%) in the hydroponic system than in large bins containing substrate (70:30 mix of coir and composted pine bark). Yields of transplants were also generally higher (by up to 96%) in the hydroponic system in the screenhouse compared with field production in soils treated with methyl bromide (MB)/chloropicrin (Pic). Plug transplants from the hydroponic system produced higher runner yields (double) than bare-rooted mother plants when they were planted in the field in soils treated with 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D)/Pic or Pic, but not when they were grown in soils treated with MB/Pic. This was most likely due to the earlier stolon growth of plug plants compared with bare-rooted mother plants, which provided cover and competed better with the high populations of weeds in soils treated with 1,3-D/Pic or Pic. The use of plug plants combined with substitute fumigants to MB/Pic, and possibly other integrated treatments including herbicides, warrants further investigation as an alternative system to one using soil fumigation with MB/Pic for runner production.
Milinkovic, M., Mattner, S.W., House, L.T. and Greenhalgh, F.C. (2017). Development and performance of soil-less systems for strawberry transplant production in Australia. Acta Hortic. 1156, 871-876
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1156.128
strawberry nursery, strawberry runner, methyl bromide, plug plant, hydroponics, pathogen-tested

Acta Horticulturae