Greening of Strawberry Plasticulture

slenderleaf rattlebox with strawberries
2017 bare-root strawberry transplant establishment trial at the UF Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, FL

The Greening of Strawberry Plasticulture

Research and extension activities will address the unsustainable practice of using an extended period of overhead irrigation to limit heat stress during the establishment of bare-root strawberry transplants on black plastic mulch.

On-farm and on-station field experiments will be conducted to compare:
  1. conventional high-volume sprinkler irrigation
  2. low-volume sprinkler irrigation
  3. high-volume sprinkler irrigation + living mulch
  4. low-volume sprinkler irrigation + living mulch
Living Mulches:
  1. sunn hemp
  2. hairy indigo
  3. slenderleaf rattlebox
Additional Measurements:
  • During strawberry establishment, irrigation infiltration and runoff will be assessed.
  • Data will be collected on strawberry stand establishment, growth, and fruit yield.
  • Living mulch suppression of weeds and sting nematodes will also be assessed.
Anticipated Outcomes:

We anticipate that the combination of low-volume sprinklers and living mulch in row middles will increase the sustainability of strawberry production by decreasing water use during bare-root transplant establishment, promoting infiltration at the expense of runoff, increasing the diversity of the cropping system, and improving cropping system resilience to weeds and to the sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus).