University of Maryland Extension

Strawberry Problems

frost damaged plants

 

 Cultural Management Practices for Pest Control in Strawberry Plantings

  1. Disease resistant strawberry cultivars. Whenever possible, purchase only certified planting stock from a reputable nursery as a primary defense against the introduction of viruses and soil-borne diseases in strawberry plantings. Choose only those varieties that are sold as resistant to leaf spot and powdery mildew foliar disease and to soil-borne root and vascular diseases such as Verticillium wilt and red stele diseases. Leafspot and mildew can be controlled with fungicides if necessary, but Verticillium wilt and red stele can ruin the planting site.
  2. Weed and grass control. Control of weeds and grasses in strawberries is extremely important. Weeds encourage high populations of plant bugs and other insects that can damage the fruit, promote disease development by keeping the foliar canopy wet for long periods, and compete strongly with the shallow-rooted strawberries for nutrients and water.
  3. Straw Mulching. Straw mulching is necessary over the winter to prevent strawberry plants from heaving when the soil freezes and thaws frequently. A light straw mulch that is in place as the berries begin to ripen will reduce contact between the fruit and soil that harbors various fungal rot organisms.
  4. Renovation. Strawberry beds should be renovated immediately after harvest. This practice should not be delayed until later in the season. Renovation involves cutting back the foliar canopy, cultivating, and applying herbicides. The benefits of renovation include the promotion of strong, vigorous growth, production of runners and daughter plants, and reduction in foliar diseases and sap beetle populations.
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