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Photoperiod and temperature effect on growth of strawberry plant (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.): Development of a morphological test to assess the dormancy induction

by Fabien Robert, Georgette Risser, Gilles Pétel
Scientia Horticulturae ()
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At the end of summer, the diminution of photoperiod and temperature cause a decrease of vegetative growth and the dormancy of strawberry plants. Although the decrease in vegetative growth can be measured morphologically, no test is able to evaluate the decrease in growth potential (i.e. during the dormancy induction) nor its possible influence on vegetative growth. On the one hand, to estimate this influence biometrically, we have correlated photoperiod and temperature decreases with the vegetative growth decrease of some strawberry cultivars observed in the field. Results have confirmed the major role of photoperiod, temperature and the effect of growth potential decrease on vegetative growth. Moreover, the results showed that the decrease of vegetative growth was an early event at the end of summer which depended upon strawberry cultivar. On the other hand, we have measured petiole length under standard climatic conditions in a growth chamber, after natural summer and autumnal exposures. Observations of strawberry plants under these conditions revealed a decrease of their growth potential which also depended upon strawberry cultivar. Results also confirmed the possible action of growth potential decrease on the vegetative growth at the end of summer. Consequently, the observation of strawberry plants under standard conditions can be used, as a test, to assess the exact moment of dormancy induction.

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