Introduction. Albinism is a serious physiological disorder
of strawberries in which fruits appear bloated, develop poor color and flavor,
and become susceptible to fruit rot during storage. Many factors have been reported
to be associated with albinism, but vigorous vegetative growth of the plants is considered
as the primary factor. Mulching is the most important cultural practice in strawberry,
which is known to influence plant growth, yield and fruit quality. Our studies aimed at
observing the influence of different types of mulch materials on strawberry growth
and albinism disorder. Materials and methods. Studies were conducted with
five cultivars (Sweet Charlie, Chandler, Douglas, Fern and Etna) cultivated with
three types of mulch materials (black polyethylene, white polyethylene and paddy straw).
No mulch was used as a control. Observations were recorded on plant growth parameters,
albinism incidence and fruit quality parameters of five cultivars under different mulch
materials. Results and discussion. All growth parameters were better with mulching
than with control. Among the different types of mulch materials, plants had the best
growth with black polyethylene, but the fruits were more affected by albinism as compared
with those cultivated with paddy straw mulch. Among the cultivars, the plants of Etna
showed the most vigorous growth, but their fruits had the highest incidence of albinism
(49.88%); those of Sweet Charlie had the lowest incidence (20.74%), primarily
because of the close relationship between plant growth and albinism. Conclusion.
Black polyethylene mulch favored better plant growth in strawberry, but enhanced
the incidence of albinism in a sub-tropical climate as compared with paddy straw.
Thus, paddy straw is the best option for use as mulch for strawberry in warmer localities.