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Temperature Has a Greater Effect on Fruit Growth than Defoliation or Fruit Thinning in Strawberries in the Subtropics

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Menzel, C. M. (2019) Temperature Has a Greater Effect on Fruit Growth than Defoliation or Fruit Thinning in Strawberries in the Subtropics. Agriculture, 9 (6). ISSN 2077-0472


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9060127

Publisher URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0472/9/6/127


Fruit size declines in strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) as the season progresses in many subtropical areas, possibly due to inadequate leaf area, over-cropping, or high temperatures. An experiment was conducted to investigate the importance of these factors on fruit growth in ‘Festival’ in Queensland, Australia. Groups of plants were defoliated to remove half of the mature leaves on each plant, thinned to remove all the inflorescences on each plant, or defoliated and thinned. Control plants were left intact. Defoliation, thinning, or defoliation + thinning decreased yield (total and/or marketable) by 15% to 24% compared with the control. Defoliation, or defoliation + thinning decreased average fruit weight (total and/or marketable fruit) by 1 to 2 g compared with the control, whereas thinning had the opposite effect. The incidence of small fruit increased towards the end of the season. There were strong relationships between fruit weight and average daily mean temperature in the seven weeks before harvest (R2s greater than 0.80). Fruit weight decreased from 24 g to 8 g as the temperature increased from 16 °C to 20 °C. This response was not affected by defoliation or thinning. The strong effect of temperature on fruit size indicates a problem for production in the future in the absence of heat-tolerant cultivars.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:crop load; defoliation; Fragaria × ananassa Duch.; fruit growth; fruit thinning; leaf area; temperature; yield
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Plant culture > Food crops
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Berries and small fruits
Live Archive:03 Jul 2019 03:56
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:45

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