Selection: tested as PRI
Origin: Fresh Forward, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Sonata is a cross of 1998 selected by Bert Meulenbroek at PRI, Wageningen. It is since the release of Elsanta the most successful new variety from The Netherlands. Fresh Forward is the owner of the variety.
Sonata is a mid-season June-bearing strawberry variety with very good eating qualities. Sonata differs from Elsanta by its extreme good fruit set and very uniform fruit shape. The amount of misshaped berries is minimal.
Because of these characteristics Sonata is suitable for the early greenhouse production, as a continuous culture or as a new winter planting. Because of its tolerance to winterfrost Sonata is very much suited for outdoor production in more northern and colder areas. Because of the easy fruit set it can be interesting to cover fresh dug plants of Sonata with fleece or perforated polythene. Good quality fruit and good results in terms of yield can be obtained with Sonata as cold stored plant in normal outdoor production.
Sonata is also a good alternative for sixty-day plantings of Elsanta because of its good vigor and long flower trusses after cold storage.
Sonata is a June-bearing strawberry cultivar adapted to the climatic conditions of Northern Europe. Sonata has a more compact growth habit with smaller and sometimes quinquefoliate leaflets.
Flowering and harvest period:
The flowers do have numerous and large anthers with abundant viable pollen. Pollinators prefer flowers of Sonata instead of Elsanta but do not overpollinate the flowers very easily. Sonata distinguishes itself from other varieties by its extreme good fruit set.
Generally Sonata blooms a few days later than Elsanta. In a continuous culture in the greenhouse the harvest period of Sonata is between 2 and 4 days and outdoors 2 or 3 days later than Elsanta. However, autumn production of Sonata in the greenhouse starts between 3 days and 1 week later than Elsanta.
Sonata produces beautiful conically shaped strawberries and a very low incidence of misshapen fruit. The larger primary fruits can be a little bit wedged but still are short conical. Sonata produces continuously during its cropping season medium berries with an average weight higher than Elsanta.
The fruits are bright red, the internal color is pink. Sonata tastes a little sweeter and is juicier than Elsanta. Sonata is better able to stand up to heavy downpours and does not split as easy as Elsanta. The fruit is glossy and has no tendency to darken after picking.
By optimizing planting date and fertilization Sonata yields as high as Elsanta. However, the total of good quality berries is by far superior. Due to less wastage and good medium fruit size picking is easy.
Pest and disease resistancte:
Sonata is less susceptible to powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca macularis) and angular leaf spot (Xanthomonas) but is susceptible to fruit rot (Botrytis cinerea), wilt (Verticillium), crown rot (Phytophthora cactorum) and root rot (Rhizoctonia).
Growing experiences with Sonata:
In the nursery and on the production field Sonata needs a higher magnesium fertilization and a good balance of micro-elements (iron and manganese). Sonata has a higher chilling requirement (over 1500 hours) to break dormancy.
In greenhouses and tunnels it is important to avoid high humidity and high
nighttemperatures because these climatical conditions can reduce firmness and
shelf life of the berries.
In outdoor production the vigorous growth habit protects the berries from late night frosts and sunburn. However, it is important to treat the plants after planting against crown rot and root rot. During flowering and fruit set a preventive spray against fruit rot is necessary.
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