|STRAWBERRY OXYGEN SUPPLEMENTATION SUMMARY|
|Berry Size (gms)||Yield thru 9/16 (lbs)||Total Yield 10/14 (lbs)|
|Total No Treatment||10.7||45.0||94.7|
|Percent O2 Advantage||-0.2%||18.3%||6.6%|
|Confidence Level %||--||99||71|
Strawberry crops showed an increase in yield when plants were treated with super-oxygenated water. Cumulative results were positive for super-oxygenated treated plants throughout the growing season, although individual harvests varied. Yields through mid-September for super-oxygenated plots showed a very significant advantage (18.3 % with 99% confidence level) over non-treated plots. Since day-length and heat were decreasing after mid-September, plant growth and yield declined as did the differences between the treated and untreated plots. That the difference between treated and untreated plots narrowed as growth slowed would be expected since less water was being applied to the plants. Irrigation amounts dropped from nearly 50 gallons per day several times per week to less than 25 gallons one time per week as temperatures cooled.
One caveat for this study is that the plants were planted in the high tunnels somewhat late in the season, due to cold spring growing conditions in zone 3b. One advantage of growing crops in high-tunnels is the ability to extend the growing season both in the spring and in the fall. These plants were not available for planting until mid-June, while tunnel temperatures usually permit planting in April or May. Mild temperatures in the early fall permitted good growth to continue into mid-September, providing fruit for the late-season market when prices may be higher.
Supplementation with super-oxygenated water is a very promising concept and deserves further consideration for high tunnel application. High tunnels are an ideal environment for such experiments, since water can be precisely controlled and rainfall is not an issue. The differences were positive for strawberries, especially during the period of most active growth. Earlier planting to take advantage of the additional heat in the tunnel environment possibly would have resulted in even greater yield differentials.