Greenhouse Strawberries – Deliciously Sweet
If you live in Ontario and love strawberries, you may have noticed a growing trend in the strawberry section of the produce aisle. Greenhouse grown strawberries are taking up more of the shelf space, and with good reason.
Greenhouse grown strawberries are advertised as “Deliciously Sweet” and if you’ve tried them, you will probably agree. They are also of a more uniform shape and size compared to conventionally grown strawberries. This is due to a more controlled environment which can be achieved in a greenhouse with consistent lighting, nutrients, temperature etc.
However, one problem still persists for both greenhouse and conventionally grown strawberries. The problem of powdery mildew. Strawberry powdery mildew is caused by the fungus Podosphaera aphanis and it attacks the leaves, flowers and fruit of strawberry plants, causing major yield loss. In the UK for example, the disease can result in yield losses of between 20% - 70%, with a 20% yield loss in 2016 costing an estimated £56.8 million (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, 2017).
As more greenhouses expand their production of strawberries, dealing with the risk of over 20% crop loss from powdery mildew is crucial to the successful expansion of the crop.
CO2 Delivery Solutions™ is a novel system that delivers CO2 to plants via misting an aqueous CO2 solution directly on to the plant. Providing CO2 to strawberry plants enables an increase in photosynthesis resulting in faster growth, more berry yield and more carbohydrates meaning a sweeter tasting fruit. Faster growth means more harvest turns, more berry yield means more fruit to sell, and a sweeter tasting fruit means better quality.
CO2 Delivery Solutions™ also provides protection against the spread of powdery mildew. The aqueous CO2 solution is acidic, with a pH of 4.5 - 5. Therefore, when the solution is misted on the plant, the pH on the plant surface drops. Once the CO2 transfers into the leaf (within a couple of minutes), the pH bounces back towards neutral. We recommend misting for 5 to 15 seconds every 15 to 20 minutes during the light cycle for photosynthesis, and all day & night if you are concerned about powdery mildew spread. This fluctuation in pH occurring three to four times an hour creates an unfavorable environment for epiphytic microbial pathogens such as powdery mildew and E. coli to multiply and spread. We call this phenomenon Perimeter Protection™.
CO2 Delivery Solutions™ can help greenhouse growers produce more strawberries, higher quality strawberries, and significantly reduce the risk of losing crops due to diseases like powdery mildew. These benefits can help the market grow so more people can enjoy those Deliciously Sweet strawberries.
For more information on how Perimeter Protection™ works, read these previous blogs: Understanding Cannabis Pathogens with Dr. Matt Julius and Most of Colorado’s Failed Cannabis Tests Stem from Microbials or visit co2delivery.ca