Gardens - Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

Add a strawberry patch to your garden

How to enjoy one of the season's first harvests in your own backyard

Pests and disease

Strawberries are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases. Here are some ways to reduce potential problems without resorting to pesticides:

  • Buy disease-free plants from a reputable nursery.
  • Do not plant where peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes or raspberries have been grown over the past three to four years.
  • Plant in well-draining soil.
  • Regularly remove and dispose of any rotting fruit without touching leaves or other fruit.
  • Water plants in the middle of the day so their leaves will dry quickly.

Pest: Birds
Description: Peck holes in berries or eat entire fruit
Solution: Cover patch with netting with openings no bigger than 6 mm; suspend over plants with stakes and secure edges into the ground

Disease: Black root rot
Description: Fungal disease; roots turn dark brown
Solution: Avoid heavy, poorly drained soil

Disease: Botrytis fruit rot or grey mould
Description: Fungal disease (appears mainly during long, wet periods); fruit turns brown and dries up on stems; develops soft, light brown areas and becomes covered with a grey dust—then rots
Solution: Follow cultivation practices as outlined

Disease: Leaf scorch
Description: Fungal disease; leaves have purple blotches that turn brown in centre; leaf edges dry up and look burnt
Solution: Follow cultivation practices as outlined

Disease: Leaf spot
Description: Fungal disease; leaves have small, round, purple spots that develop grey or light brown centres.
Solution: Follow cultivation practices as outlined

Disease: Leather rot
Description: Darkened spot on berry spreads until entire fruit becomes brown, leathery and rough. Confirm by cutting through several berries, looking for marked darkening; infected fruit has unpleasant smell and taste. Mild infections can go unnoticed, but a single infected berry can ruin a batch of preserves
Solution: Follow cultivation practices as outlined

Disease: Powdery mildew
Description: White patches of fungus on lower leaf surface cause edges to roll up; leaves eventually die
Solution: Follow cultivation practices as outlined

Disease: Red stele
Description: Fungal disease aggravated by cool, wet soil; red core in roots; root function is seriously affected, resulting in stunting and wilting of plant
Solution: Follow cultivation practices as outlined

Pest: Slugs
Description: Eat holes in berries at night; look for their slimy trails
Solution: Clear up yard and garden debris in areas that provide daytime hiding places. Place boards throughout patch and daily remove any slugs that accumulate under them; hand-pick at night

Pest: Strawberry bud or clipper weevil
Description: Dark red beetles, 2 to 3 mm long with long snouts, cut blossom stems causing them to wilt, drop off or hang by a thread
Solution: Hand-pick; control weeds

Pest: Tarnished plant bug
Description: Brown, 6-mm long adults and green nymphs suck on stem tips, buds and fruits, injecting toxin that produces nubby, deformed berry with clump of seeds at the end
Solution: Hand-pick insects

Disease: Verticillium wilt
Outer leaves wilt, turn red with upturned margin; stems develop black areas
Solution: Follow cultivation practices as outlined

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