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Early-season strawberry tested in high elevation conditions
Date:6/22/2011

LOGAN, UTIn response to increased awareness generated by the expanding local foods movement, demand for fresh strawberries has increased throughout the United States. The fresh market strawberry industry in the U.S. flourishes in California and Floridastates with ideal weather conditions and long growing seasons. Even with challenging growing conditions, small-scale strawberry production operations succeed in other areas of the country, particularly near urban areas where local produce commands premium prices at market.

Ideal growing conditions for strawberries occur when temperatures are 20-26C. Suboptimal temperatures (less than 20C) slow the growth and development of both the strawberry plant and fruit, whereas superoptimal temperatures (above 35C) cause the strawberry plant to stop growing altogether. Coastal regions in southern California provide growers with ideal conditions from spring to fall, while growers in central Florida benefit from mild conditions throughout the winter. New research from scientists at Utah State University may provide strawberry producers in other parts of the country with methods to extend growing seasons in less-than-perfect climates.

Daniel Rowley, Brent L. Black, Dillon Feuz, and Dan Drost researched the use of high tunnels to extend the strawberry season in the Intermountain West region of the United States. According the scientists, conditions in the high-elevation valleys of the Intermountain West are particularly challenging for strawberry production, where early spring temperatures are suboptimal and transition rapidly to summer temperatures that are typically superoptimal. The researchers investigated the use of high tunnels to extend the season for June-bearing strawberries in Utah. The report was published in HortScience.

The research design included a fall-planted annual hill system and vertical growing systems in two different orientations. Optimum planting dates for each system we
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert

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