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Influence of row covers and mulching interaction on leaf physiology, fruit yield and albinism incidence in ‘Sweet Charlie’ strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.)

  • Ram Roshan Sharma (a1), Rajbir Singh (a2), Dinesh Singh (a3) and Ram Kishore Gupta (a2)

Abstract

Introduction. Under the sub-tropical climate of India, ‘Sweet Charlie’ strawberry is being grown on a large scale. However, under such climatic conditions, it is not possible to transplant runners before mid-October, because the environmental temperature is very high, and planting after mid-October is also not good because then winter sets in and affects growth, development, flowering and fruiting of strawberry. Under such circumstances, covering of strawberry beds with row covers and mulching with plastic mulch can be useful for early and high production by way of modifying the leaf physiology and producing marketable berries in high number. Materials and methods. Row covers of transparent polyethylene (100-µm thickness) were erected over beds after one month of transplanting of the runners. Mulching (black polyethylene, white polyethylene and paddy straw) was also applied after one month of transplanting of the runners; it was removed only after fruiting was over. Observations on different leaf physiological parameters were made. Results. Row covers and mulching individually or in combination significantly influenced plant physiology, growth, berry yield attributes and albinism incidence. Plants showed better growth and physiological attributes under row covers than without row covers. Plants had the best growth and physiological attributes under black polyethylene mulch. Berry weight and yield were the highest in plants under row covers and black polyethylene mulch. Although the [row covers × mulching] interaction showed the highest incidence of albinism, berry yield per plant (excluding albino fruit) was significantly the highest with that combination. Conclusion. Erection of row covers and mulching in winter is highly useful for better growth and production of strawberry under a sub-tropical climate.

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