MANIPULATION OF THE PRODUCTION PATTERN OF EVERBEARING CULTIVARS BY DEFOLIATION TREATMENTS
An experiment was performed in 2003 to determine the effect of defoliating plants on the production pattern of the everbearing cultivar Flamenco. Defoliation was achieved by mowing-off the plants with a strimmer (a mechanical rotary cutter) on three different dates. All leaf material and emerged flowers were removed but the crown was left undamaged. Results showed that the total yield of Flamenco remained largely unaffected in comparison to the non-defoliated control, provided the plants were defoliated before the second half of July. The cropping pattern was shifted so that the peak occurred two weeks later in comparison to the control, filling a trough in production. In a second experiment, in 2005, three defoliation treatments were compared on four everbearing cultivars. The defoliation treatments had no significant effect on the class 1 yield of Flamenco and there was a shift in the peak of production but not as marked as in 2003. With the exception of one defoliation treatment with Everest, the overall yields of the other cultivars were significantly reduced. It is clear that everbearing cultivars respond differently to defoliation treatments and it is also likely that the response will vary between seasons, due to different weather patterns. Further studies are needed to determine if this practice would be a useful agronomic tool, particularly for avoiding periods of high temperatures that can reduce flowering in some everbearing cultivars.
Whitehouse, A.B., Johnson, A.W. and Simpson, D.W. (2009). MANIPULATION OF THE PRODUCTION PATTERN OF EVERBEARING CULTIVARS BY DEFOLIATION TREATMENTS. Acta Hortic. 842, 773-776
Fragaria × ananassa, strawberry, day-neutral, climate change, thermodormancy