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Role of micronutrients in improving fruit quality and yield of strawberry cv. chandler under microclimatic conditions.

Abstract

Strawberry (Fragaria x ananasa) is a widely grown fruit crop known for its color, aroma and texture. The fruit is enriched with vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants. In Pakistan, except for a few low-temperature regions, it is mainly grown as an annual fruit crop where runners are transplanted every year. Owing to its short growing period and high profitability, it is mostly produced by small scale farmers. However, the changing climate from the past few years has affected strawberry production in Pakistan. Heavy rainfall, along with hailstorms causes damage at the fruit initiation stage. Moreover, the rainfall also lead to the leaching down of the essential micronutrients in strawberry farms. In this study we have tested the foliar application of four micronutrients, iron, zinc, copper and boron, at different concentrations under tunnel conditions on strawberry cv. Chandler at Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad. The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design with three blocks. Our study showed that the 0.2% ZnSO4 and 0.4% FeSO4 showed maximum mean values for fruit weight (18.22 g), fruit width (32.66 cm), yield per plant (175.84 g), no. of fruits per plant (10.26) and fruit set percentage (87.85%). The foliar application of boron at 0.2% maximized the total soluble salts (TSS) (8.3 0B) and the least amount of titratable fruit acidity (0.27%). The research findings also showed that combine application of Iron, Zinc and Boron in the given percentage can possibly improve the yield and quality of Chandler under microclimatic conditions.