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SC Grower Provides Crop Update

Dr. E. Barclay Poling
Professor Emeritus (Strawberry Plasticulture Researcher)
Department of Horticultural Science
I received this update from Eric Hunter, Easley, SC.  His farm is relatively close to Clemson University.

Hey Dr. Poling,
I hope all is well with you.  Just an update and some pictures of where we are right now with our strawberry plants.  I will have to send most of the pictures in separate emails.

As far as GDD’s go, here is where we are (and a comparison to where we were last year at this time):

Chandlers:  Right now we are at 528 GDD for the year (planted 10/6).  Last year we were at 530.  Interesting that they are so close – I was expecting to be less this year.  We covered up with 1.5 oz. covers prior to the convention and the exceptionally cold weather.  Our lows were in the mid teens during that spell.  For various reasons, we had to leave the covers on for 12 days longer than we planned on, so we did gain some GDD’s under the covers that are unaccounted for in the numbers.  We had a few rows that we left uncovered during that spell and the size difference is obvious.  Our covered plants are showing 2-3 branch crowns at this point.  I’m a little concerned that the plants have the potential to get too large, but looking at the long range forecast, I don’t believe we will pick up a great deal of GDD’s anytime soon.


Fig. 1.  Chandler uncovered during Nov cold spell – photo taken 12/9/14

Fig. 2.  Another photo of  uncovered Chandler

Figs. 3:  Chandler plants that had row cover protection during Nov freeze

Camarosa:  Right now we are at 699 GDD’s for the year (planted 9/27).  Last year we were at 718 at this point – again, pretty close.  We covered up with 1.25 oz. covers on 11/12 and have left them covered.  We will remove the covers in a couple more weeks.  I anticipate it being close to getting to 800 GDD’s with the use of covers and I think we’ll be in good shape.  The Camarosa also have an average of 2-3 branch crowns developed.

Overall, the plants look excellent.

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