In 2013 and 2014, we removed flower blossoms from day-neutral cultivars in early, mid and late June for optimum production. Recently, we came across an experiment that shares some new information on when and why you should remove day-neutral flowers.
University of Maryland Professors and Extension Educators released a publication in September of 2009 suggesting that the frequency of removing flowers did not increase yields as compared to when flower blossoms were left on the plant.
In their experiment using the day-neutral cultivar Seascape, they set up three treatments, removing blossoms at four weeks, again at two weeks, and not removing blossoms at all. The study found that there was no significant difference in total yield at the end of the season between any of the treatments. In other words, for this experiment, removing blossoms had no effect on total yields. The only difference that removing blossoms had is when the plants starting producing fruit. So, not removing blossoms spread the yields out evenly through the whole season; removing them resulted in the same total yields, but ‘backloaded’ the distribution of fruit into later in the season.
This could be of consequence to day-neutral growers in the Midwest who want more of their crop available later in the season when the demand is greater.
View the publication: Optimizing Day Neutral Strawberry Growth.
(Thank you to U of MN Graduate Student, Andy Petran, for assisting with this information)