Date of Graduation

7-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Horticulture (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Horticulture

Advisor

M. Elena Garcia

Committee Member

Donn T. Johnson

Second Committee Member

Nathan A. Slaton

Third Committee Member

Curt R. Rom

Abstract

The decline in strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.) production in Arkansas over the last 50 years has sparked an interest in the use of season extension techniques to improve yield and fruit quality. High tunnel strawberry production has the potential to become a profitable and sustainable production system; however, information on nutrient and pest management is limited.

The overall objective of this study was to determine the response of ‘St. Festival’ strawberry cultivar to different nitrogen fertilizer rates in order to develop a fertilization program for strawberries grown under high tunnel production systems. Experiments were conducted at the University of Arkansas Research Station, Fayetteville to determine the effects of nitrogen fertilizer treatments on yield components, plant tissue analysis, and spider mite incidence. Nitrogen fertilizer rate had no significant effect on yield components, plant tissue analysis, or mite incidence for ‘Strawberry Festival’ strawberry grown under high tunnel production systems.

In an effort to understand the lack of response to nitrogen fertilization of ‘St. Festival’, a greenhouse experiment was conducted to compare the root systems of ‘St. Festival’ to ‘Chandler’, a standard cultivar grown in the mid-south. Overall, ‘Chandler’ had a more developed root system throughout the growing period than ‘St. Festival’, but the petiole nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in ‘St. Festival’ were higher than ‘Chandler’ at the end of the season. The results of this experiment indicate root morphological parameters do not explain the lack of response by ‘St. Festival’ to nitrogen fertilization.

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