Date of Award:

6-2010

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Plants, Soils, and Climate

Advisor/Chair:

Brent L. Black

Abstract

High tunnels have been used successfully in many areas of the world to extend the growing season for numerous crops. However, very little research has been conducted to evaluate the season extension benefits offered by high tunnels to small fruit crops in high elevation growing areas such as the Intermountain West region of the United States. The use of high tunnels was investigated in North Logan, Utah (41.766 N latitude, 1405 m elevation, 119 freeze free days) to extend the growing season for both strawberries and raspberries. June-bearing `Chandler' strawberries in a fall-planted annual hill system were evaluated for early season production. High tunnels advanced spring strawberry production by approximately 3 weeks compared to field-grown plants. High tunnels were used for earlier planting and growth in a spring-planted day-neutral strawberry system. Day-neutral cultivars (`Albion', `Seascape', `Evie 2', and `Tribute') produced strawberries throughout the summer and into the fall with significantly higher yields from the high tunnel treatments than the field-grown plants. High tunnels also extended late-season strawberry production until mid-December. The floricane-fruiting red raspberry `Tulameen' was evaluated for early season production, and primocane-fruiting `Caroline' was evaluated for late season extension. High tunnels were unable to provide sufficient winter protection for the cold-tender `Tulameen' at this location. Results from late season extension indicated that high tunnels could extend late season raspberry production by as much as three weeks. However, peak yields for `Caroline' were before the first fall frost, and a later fruiting cultivar would be more suitable. In addition to research results, this thesis contains chapters on practical management considerations for commercial producers, and enterprise budgets to assist in evaluating the economic costs and returns of high tunnel strawberry and raspberry production.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on August 20, 2010.

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