Selective inflorescence thinning as a tool to improve yield quality of everbearing strawberry
The use of programmed plants of everbearing strawberry is based on the idea of a conspicuous first flush yield, thus inflorescence and flower number are fundamental. Everbearing-programmed plants are often variable in terms of crown number and, frequently, some inflorescences are weak and show an advanced phenological stage. The aim of the trial was to determine the influence of selective inflorescence thinning on yield of plants grown on three growing media. On April 14, 2014, 'Capri' strawberry A+ plants were transplanted in 3 different growing media: 85% peat and 15% coir (PC), 50% coir and 50% conifer wood (CW) and 100% coir (CC). On May 6, all the inflorescences with a short and thin stalk, a basal branching habit and at the phenological stage 'early balloon' (58 BBCH scale) or later were removed. Despite an average pruning of about one out of three trusses each plant, there was no significant difference in the marketable yield. First flush beginning was delayed, but was over at the same time, anyway, the total value remained almost the same thanks to the significant increase in the fruit weight. The inflorescence thinning allowed eliminating the flowers that would have generated small or misshapen fruits. There were no effects on the other part of the harvest curve. Growing media influenced the marketable yield, however, only on CW, the treatment that had the lowest production, the thinning determined a higher yield, suggesting that the initial lack of fruits permitted a more equilibrate plant development in a substrate that usually decreases plant vigour. The selective thinning showed to be a useful technique, which allowed to increase the yield quality.
Zucchi, P., Martinatti, P., Conci, S. and Pantezzi, T. (2017). Selective inflorescence thinning as a tool to improve yield quality of everbearing strawberry. Acta Hortic. 1156, 457-464
Fragaria × ananassa Duch., substrates, programmed plant, misshape fruits, soilless culture