Colored nets may boost strawberry yields

By Tom Lollis

red nets covering a greenhouse; photo by tom lollis

Light manipulation with colored nets may give South Carolina strawberry producers a boost in yields. Bob Dufault, horticulturist at the Coastal Research and Education Center, is using red, yellow and pearl colored nets to see if they improve performance of forced fall/winter strawberries.

Developed by Israeli scientists, the yellow nets increase vegetative growth in some plants. Pearl nets increase branching, and red nets increase both vegetation and fruiting. This is the first time the nets have been used with strawberries.

Strawberries were planted in early September and berries harvested from Halloween until late February. Results to date do not show a great increase in yield for the fall and winter berries, but do indicate an improvement in plants for spring production, starting in late March.

“Netting may be more effective from February to April instead of during the fall,” Dufault said. He will do a budget analysis after spring harvest to see if the nets are profitable before recommending their use.

For information: Bob Dufault, 843-402-5389,