Albion strawberry responds to mulch treatments and low tunnels covered with photoselective films

Kaitlyn M. Orde, Rich Marini, Kathleen Demchak, Rebecca Sideman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The impact of photoselective films on strawberry plants in a low tunnel system has not been well investigated in the northeastern United States, nor have there been studies looking at the effect of mulch color in a plasticulture system. During two separate years (2016 and 2017), we evaluated ‘Albion’ in an annual system with three ground mulch treatments (black plastic, white-on-black plastic, and no plastic) and under six cover treatments. Five of the cover treatments were low tunnel films that varied in their ultraviolet, photosynthetically active, and near-infrared radiation transmission profiles: Tufflite IVTM (TIV), KoolLite Plus (KLP), Trioplast (TRP), and custom-manufactured UV-transparent (UVT) and UV-blocking (UVO) films. The sixth cover treatment was the traditional open bed environment (no low tunnel). ‘Albion’ produced fruit for 18 to 19 continuous weeks during both years until as late as Thanksgiving (24 Nov.) in 2016. Overall, the average marketable yield was greater in 2017 (486 g/plant) than in 2016 (350 g/plant), and it was greater on black mulch than on no mulch (445 vs. 380 g/plant, respectively); white mulch was intermediate (419 g/plant) (P # 0.05). There was not a significant increase in marketable yield under low tunnels compared with open beds. The average fruit mass was greater under KLP and UVO than open beds (TIV and UVT were intermediate), and greater on beds with no mulch than black mulch (white mulch was intermediate). Across cover treatments, plants on black mulch produced more runners than plants on white or no mulch, and the black mulch/open bed treatment generated the greatest number of runners in both years, more than double most other treatments in 2016. The present study demonstrates that mulch selection is important for maximizing the yield of ‘Albion’ in the Northeast region, and that both mulch and cover impact runnering and fruit size. For plant propagators producing ‘Albion’ tips in a field environment, the results of this study suggest they are likely to maximize runner quantity by cultivating plants on black mulch without low tunnel cover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1014
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Horticulture


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