Effect of different slit numbers of plug tray cells on growth parameters in strawberry transplants

J.N. Ndikumana, Y.H. Lee, N.I. Park, S.J. Hong, Y.R. Yeoung
In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of different numbers of drainage slits in strawberry plug tray cells on seedling quality, root zone temperature, electrical conductivity (EC), media pH, and early yield of 'Seolhyang' strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) using two different rooting media (commercial medium and Ellepot). The experimental treatments consisted of plug trays with no slits (H0), two slits (H2), four slits (H4), and control (C) or commercial tray. 'Seolhyang' cultivar was grown as mother plant in containers to produce runner tips. These plug seedlings were then transplanted into the greenhouse for fruit production. The experimental units were arranged in a completely randomized design, with five and four replicates each for the nursery and field studies, respectively. Root zone characteristics and growth (shoot and root) parameters were collected on a weekly basis for 4 weeks, while days to anthesis (first flower open and 50% flowering) and early yield data were measured in post-nursery studies. The root zone EC of plants grown in the H2 and H4 trays was lower than that of other treatments, indicating fast drainage and nutrient leaching. The root zone pH was relatively lower in tray cells with increased number of slits. The average temperature of the H4 tray was lower than that of the control, accelerating floral induction. Four weeks after rooting, seedlings grown from the H2 and H4 trays exhibited significantly improved quality for transplanting. These treatments induced early flowering and early yield, regardless of the media used. The results suggest that the number of drainage slits could affect the quality of transplant growth parameters and early yield of June-bearing strawberries. Further research is required to determine the optimum number of drainage slits.
Ndikumana, J.N., Lee, Y.H., Park, N.I., Hong, S.J. and Yeoung, Y.R. (2021). Effect of different slit numbers of plug tray cells on growth parameters in strawberry transplants. Acta Hortic. 1309, 421-430
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1309.61
seedlings, air-pruning, containers, drainage slits, flower initiation, vigor

Acta Horticulturae