Growth, Fruit Yield and Quality of Three Strawberry Cultivars as Affected by Mulch Type and Low Tunnel

Mohamed A. Soliman , Hala A. Abd El-Aal, Ramadan, A. Mohmed and Nabil N. Elhefnawy

Two field experiments were carried out to study the effects of three mulch treatments (black polyethylene, clear polyethylene in addition to a non-mulched control) under low tunnel system (with and without tunnel), on plant growth, flowering traits, fruit yield and quality of three strawberry cultivars (Fragaria & ananassa Duch); Festival, Sweet Charlie and Gaviota, grown in sandy soil under a drip irrigation system. The results indicated that the three tested strawberry cultivars which were mulched with clear or black polyethylene and tunneled exhibited significant increases in number of leaves, number of crown, leaf area, dry mass/plant, number of flower trusses / plant and it flowered earlier than the non-mulched and non- tunneled ones. Moreover, most yield potential characters i.e. early yield, total yield, yield/plant, marketable yield, culls yield and average fruit weight; were positively and significantly increased by the application of mulch (clear and black polyethylene mulch) and tunneled compared to non-mulched and non-tunneled ones. Furthermore, these treatments, significantly, enhanced most fruit quality characteristics; total soluble solids, total titratable acidity, ascorbic acid, and reducing, non-reducing and total sugars compared to the control. Both Festival and Sweet Charlie cultivars were exceeded Gaviota one, in this respect.