'WASATCH' Day-Neutral Strawberry - 'MSU 68'

 

Description of Technology

 

‘Wasatch’ is a new strawberry cultivar intended for the Midwestern and Northeastern USA, Ontario and Quebec, and the Pacific Northwest. Its name comes from the Wasatch Mountains of Utah where Dr.

Royce Bringhurst collected the wild strawberry he used to develop the modern day-­‐neutral cultivars. In field trials over three seasons, it has performed as a strong day-­‐neutral, fruiting an average of 12 weeks in Mt. Vernon, Washington and 8 weeks at Benton Harbor, Michigan. ‘Wasatch’ compares favorably to the most widely planted day-­‐neutrals ‘Seascape’ and ‘Albion’ developed in California.  ‘Wasatch’ has a slightly paler internal color than ‘Seascape’ and similar firmness; however, it is superior in yield, vigor, fruit size and flavor.  ‘Wasatch’ is not as firm and is smaller fruited than ‘Albion’, but it has higher yields, better fruit color, greater plant vigor and similar excellent flavor.  ‘Wasatch’, and its co-­‐release ‘Redstart’, will be the first day-­‐neutrals released outside of California in over 30 years.

 

History of Technology

 

The cross producing Wasatch, ‘Seascape’ x MSU 38 (‘Tribute’ x ‘Honeoye’), was made in a greenhouse at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI in March 2008. The original cross designation was 08-­‐5-­‐35.

 

Wasatch was first selected in the summer of 2009 from a family of 93 planted in an open field at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC), Benton Harbor, MI. It was revaluated in the same field the following season, and was designated as MSU 68.

 

Trials

 

Runners from the original mother plant were dug in the fall of 2010 and transferred to a greenhouse at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. The potted plants were allowed to runner in the summer of 2011 and 2013, and the resulting daughter plants were rooted in sterilized soil. These plants were encouraged to go dormant each winter by leaving the greenhouse unheated.

 

Ten plants of MSU 68 were planted in 2012 and 2014 with other MSU selections in an open field at SWMREC and at Sakuma Brothers Farms, Burlington, WA under high tunnels. Plants were maintained on a black plastic mulch in raised beds at Sakuma’s, while at SWMREC they were grown on flat beds without mulch. All flowers were removed from the first flush of blooms in the planting year. Adjacent to these trials were other plantings of the day-­‐neutral cultivars ‘Albion’ and ‘Seascape’. The plants set in 2012 were evaluated in years one and two for weeks of fruiting, vigor, fruit size, productivity and fruit quality. The plants set in 2014 were evaluated for the same parameters in just that year.

 

Ten plants of MSU 68 were also planted with other MSU selections under a high tunnel at SWMREC in April of 2012. Adjacent to this planting was a replicated trial of 8 day-­‐neutral cultivars including ‘Albion’ and ‘Seascape’.  The plants were set in raised beds on white plastic mulch on top of black plastic mulch.

Flowers were removed from each plant until early July and fruit were harvested weekly for the rest of the season. The same planting was evaluated the following year for vigor, productivity and fruit quality.

 

Results

 

Michigan Open Field Trials (2012-­‐2013)

 

In the open field trials in Michigan in 2012 and 2013, ‘Wasatch’ was acceptable to superior for all the rated characteristics and fruited for 8 weeks in both years (Table 1).

 

In 2012, ‘Wasatch’ had higher yields and better flavor than ‘Seascape’, and was comparable for all the other characteristics except internal color. ‘Wasatch’ fruit were smaller and slightly less firm than ‘Albion’, but it had comparable yields, higher vigor and better color.

 

In the second harvest season, ‘Wasatch’ was much more vigorous than ‘Seascape’ and had larger fruit with better appearance and flavor. It had comparable firmness, but slightly lower yields and paler color. ‘Wasatch’ was more vigorous, had better fruit color and was much higher yielding than ‘Albion’, although it was smaller fruited and less firm.

 

Overall, the fruit size, vigor and yield of the three cultivars were reduced in 2013 compared to 2012; however, ‘Wasatch’ was less affected than ‘Albion’ and ‘Seascape’ for vigor and yield and ‘Seascape’ for fruit size. The year 2013 was unusually hot in Michigan, suggesting that ‘Wasatch’ may be more resistant to high temperatures than ‘Seascape’ and ‘Albion’, but more data is needed to confirm this.

  

Washington Tunnel Trials (2012-2013)

 

In the tunnel trials in Washington in 2012 and 2013, all the characteristics of ‘Wasatch’ were rated acceptable to superior (Table 2). ‘Wasatch’ fruited for 11 weeks in 2012 and 13 weeks in 2013.

 

In 2012, ‘Wasatch’ had higher vigor, larger fruit size, better appearance and much better flavor than ‘Seascape’. It was comparable for all the other characteristics measured. ‘Wasatch’ was better colored than ‘Albion’ and had higher yields, more attractive fruit and higher vigor. Its fruit were smaller and less firm, but it had comparable flavor.

 

In the second harvest season, ‘Wasatch’ was more vigorous than ‘Seascape’ and had comparable firmness, yield and flavor. Its internal color was somewhat paler. ‘Wasatch’ had superior vigor, yield and internal color compared to ‘Albion’, with comparable fruit appearance and external color. Its fruit size  and firmness were less than ‘Albion’.

 

Michigan Tunnel Trials (2012-­‐2013)

 

In the tunnels at SWMREC in 2012, ‘Wasatch’ had acceptable to superior ratings for all characteristics, except external color, which was just below the accepted standard (6.5 vs. 7.0)(Table 3). It produced

fruit for 13 weeks (Figure 1). ‘Wasatch’ had greater plant vigor, much higher yields, larger berries, more attractive fruit and was better flavored than ‘Seascape’ (Table 3). Its fruit were not as deeply colored, but it was comparable in firmness. ‘Wasatch’ also had greater plant vigor and higher yields than ‘Albion’, although its fruit were less firm. ‘Wasatch’ was in general lower yielding than ‘Albion’ and ‘Seascape’ in the first half of the season, but much higher yielding in the second half (Figure 1).

 

In 2013, ‘Wasatch’ had acceptable ratings for all characteristics except fruit size and yield (Table 3). However, it had larger fruit than ‘Seascape’ and comparable yields (Table 3). The fruit of ‘Wasatch’ were smaller than ‘Albion’, but its yields were much higher.  ‘Wasatch’ was more flavorful than ‘Seascape’ with comparable firmness. Its fruit were less firm than ‘Albion’, but better colored and slightly better flavored.

 

Michigan Open Field Trials (2014)

 

In 2014 in Michigan, Wasatch had acceptable to superior ratings for all characteristics. The fruit of ‘Wasatch’ were smaller than ‘Albion’ and less firm, but it had higher vigor, yields, better appearance and color; it was comparable for flavor. In Washington, ‘Wasatch’ fruit were less firm than ‘Albion’, but their size was comparable and Wasatch had better appearance and internal color.

 

Conclusions

 

Except for fruit size in the second season of the hoop trials in Michigan, all the horticultural characteristics of ‘Wasatch’ proved acceptable to superior. It was generally superior to ‘Seascape in vigor, yield, fruit size, fruit appearance and flavor. It had comparable firmness and was slightly less colored than ‘Seascape’. ‘Wasatch’ was superior to ‘Albion’ in vigor, yield, fruit appearance, and fruit color. It was smaller fruited and less firm than ‘Albion’, but had similar excellent flavor.

 

Inventors: James Hancock

 

Tech ID: TEC2015-0058

 

Patent Information:

Category(s):

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University
herlache@msu.edu
Inventors:
James Hancock
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