The Ultimate Guide to Strawberry Pest and Disease Control

The more disease-related information you consume, the easier it might seem for you to believe that your plants are plagued with all of them. However, don’t worry – plants that are taken care of well are fairly robust.

All plants are subject to environmental threats, but with good plant husbandry, gardeners can keep their strawberry plants vigorous and healthy. As with all threats, prevention is better than cure. Healthy, resilient plants are a result of adequate care and protection.

How to Keep Your Strawberry Plants Healthy

Strawberries are more vulnerable to disease when they are stressed. Stressful situations in the garden can cause strawberries to weaken and become more susceptible to pests and disease. Consider factors that may increase your strawberry plants’ susceptibility to infections.

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How to Prevent Strawberry Diseases – Reduce These 9 Stressors

Plant stress gives pathogens a foothold. By limiting stressors, you can help your strawberry plant’s ability to fight any onslaughts. 

Below is a list of nine plant terrors to be aware of. Prevent them, and you can reduce infected tissue, leaves and roots, 

Pest Infestations

Reduced resistance to disease can result from damaged strawberry leaves. In addition to being an access point for hazardous germs, holes in the foliage serve as a breeding ground for pathogens. Several pests are pathogen carriers, transferring infections from plant to plant.

Winter Injury

Strawberries are susceptible to disease when their blooms and foliage are damaged by frost. Root freeze is usually terminal.

Wet Foliage

Wet foliage helps pathogens spread. Minimizing raindrop splashes and eliminating overhead irrigation is essential to healthier plants. 

Soil Health Stress

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Growing a plant in poor soil is one of the primary causes of stress for any plant. Strawberries thrive in soil that drains well and is rich in organic matter. Strawberry plants oppose wet feet and suffer in compacted, heavy clay soil.

Temperature Stress

Very rapid temperature shifts, such as those brought on by a cold snap, can severely damage strawberry plants, especially if they are already vulnerable to the effects of heat.

Water Stress

Shallow-rooted plants like strawberries are adversely affected when water is inconsistent. Inconsistent watering causes diseases like powdery mildew to take hold.

Inadequate Light

Strawberries need about ten hours of light and start languishing when light levels are below six hours daily. While they may ensure shade, it is a stress factor for them.

Fertility Stress

Strawberry plants are not heavy feeders, and excessive nitrogen stresses them badly. Still, healthy soil offers all the nutrition needed to fuel robust plant growth. The soil must remain slightly acidic and have all the micro and macronutrients necessary to grow healthy and resilient to disease threats.

Insufficient Airflow

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Blights and molds are foliar diseases that stagnant air can significantly exacerbateFresh air is essential for plant life, just like humans. Insufficient airflow allows the accumulation of the plant’s transpiration and respiration humidity, accelerating the spread of pathogens.

Now that we know what’s going on l let’s explore the most common diseases that could affect our strawberry crop and how to keep them healthy and productive. Before that, let’s look at the pests common to strawberry plants.

9 Pests That Stress Strawberry Plants

Strawberries face threats from a wide variety of insects. Some of these pests will return annually, while others may (hopefully) never be seen again.

Follow the recommendations below to minimize insect damage

  • Reduce bug populations by renovating the strawberry patch annually, eliminating any potential habitat.
  • Reduce the number of places where insects can hibernate by clearing away fallen leaves.
  • While strawberries should be left on the plant to ripen fully, harvest them as soon as possible.
  • Any rotting fruit, whether still attached or lying on the ground, must be picked up and thrown away.
  • Adult pests detest groomed lawns and weed-free spaces as they don’t offer any place to feed and hibernate through the winter.

Strawberry Aphids (Chaetosiphon fragaefolii)

Aphids are a common nuisance in the garden and can significantly damage fruit and vegetable crops. If aphid populations can grow out of control, they can transmit various viruses and inflict extensive damage to your strawberry plants.

"Close-up image of a small, red and green aphid insect known as the strawberry aphid, crawling on a green leaf. The aphid has a slender body with long antennae and legs, and its mouth is visible as it feeds on the plant's sap. This pest can cause damage to strawberry plants by stunting growth and transmitting viruses."
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Controls

  • Refrain from giving your strawberry plants nitrogen, except when aphids are less of a problem in the fall.
  • Several predators and parasites prey on aphids that can be lured or released to assist control infestations. Encourage lady beetle, lacewing, and parasitic Parasitic wasps (Aphidius species) populations.

Flower Thrips (Frankliniella spp.)

Flower thrips are tiny insects that feed on strawberries’ leaves, flowers, pollen, and fruit. They eat a range of cultivated plants and weeds in addition to strawberries.

Thrips Control

  • Flower thrips are quickly consumed by minute pirate bugs such as the insidious flower bug (Orius insidiosus). 
  • Some predatory mites against thrips (Amblyseius swirskii) are available for release, but these mites have not been extensively studied in strawberries.

Strawberry Bud Weevil (Clipper Weevil) Anthonomus signatus

This tiny weevil is a dark reddish-brown and measures approximately a tenth of an inch in length. Its head is roughly half as long as the body. On its back, you’ll notice two huge black dots. 

Controlling Strawberry Bud Weevils

  • To limit the likelihood of clipper damage, fields should be renovated annually, spent beds should be rogued promptly after harvest, and foliage and plastic mulch should be removed.

Potato Leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) 

A close-up photo of a potato leafhopper on a green leaf. The leafhopper is small, with a yellow-green body and translucent wings. Its head is pointed with two large black eyes and several small legs protruding from its body. The leaf surrounding the leafhopper is a vibrant green color with veins running through it.
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The full-grown leafhopper is only about a quarter of an inch long, is green, and has a wedge shape. Tiny, light yellow or white patches are dispersed across the body.

Because of its long hind legs, this insect can leap great distances. Nymphs (immature insects) resemble adults in appearance but do not fly. They have a bluish-green hue to them.

Controlling Leafhoppers in Garden Strawberries

  • The eggs and larvae should be the primary targets of control measures.
  • Increase the presence of beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps, which prey on leafhoppers and keep their populations in check.
  • Most vegetable crops attract beneficial insects, but a borer of lemon verbena, blue vervain, lollipop, meteor shower, Greystone Daphne, homestead purple, or Texas roll help.

Sap Beetles (Stelidota geminata)

Sap beetles are widespread pests that can cause damage to ripe fruit. They thrive on mushy, rotten, and overripe strawberry fruit and can be kept at bay with regular picking of ripe fruits and maintaining good hygiene around plants.

Controlling Sap Beetles

  • The best sap beetle management strategies are preventative. 
  • Good field hygiene. Sap beetles are drawn to fermenting plant liquids.
  • Allow the strawberry fruit to ripen but not become overripe. 
  • Place funnel traps filled with vinegar, molasses, and water to capture this insect near plants.

Slugs (Gastropoda Pulmonata)

A person's hand holding a ripe red strawberry with a small slimy slug crawling on it.
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Slugs overwinter in fields as eggs, immature or mature slugs, and even under boards, plastic, or rotting vegetation.

How to Control Slug Infestations in Your Strawberry Bed

  • Before planting, remove all overwintering and hiding spaces, such as boards, plant debris, and large flat surfaces.
  • Use a glove and pick the slugs from strawberry plants by hand. To kill slugs, drop them in soapy water or crush them.
  • Slugs feed at night and can be lured by placing objects they can hide under, like moist newspapers. The following day, check under these traps and destroy any hiding slugs. Repeat this procedure every morning until the slug is fully managed.
  • Beer traps are also effective. Bury containers in the ground so that their tops are level with the ground, and fill them with beer or a water and yeast mixture. The liquid should be about an inch below the pan’s rim to prevent the slugs from escaping.

Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii

Drosophila, sometimes known as pomace flies, are little insects frequently found with overripe or rotten fruits and vegetables.

Controlling Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)

  • Sanitation is critical for reducing the local accumulation of SWD populations. Harvest crops regularly to avoid ripe fruits remaining in gardens for extended periods.
  • Remove and destroy any old fruit still attached to the stems or has fallen to the ground. Once the contaminated or fallen fruit is retrieved, please put it in a plastic bag.
  • Fruit in clear bags can be kept outside where the sun’s heat will kill any flies that may be present. Plastic bags can also be thrown away.
  • Netting can be used as a floating row cover over the row, blocking access to maturing berries and potentially reducing infection.

Tarnished Plant Bugs (Lygus lineolaris and L. hesperus)

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Tarnished plant bugs (Lygus hesperus in the west and L. lineolaris in the east), often known as Lygus bugs, are a summer pest of strawberries.

Cultural Management

  • Because tarnished plant bugs feed on various weeds, weed treatment minimizes the possibility of harmful populations forming.

Two-Spotted (Spider) Mites (Tetranychus urticae)

Yellow stippled, and a spider mite infestation causes bronzed leaves. They may also have webbing-covered leaves, and if you look closely, you may notice mites moving on the webs or undersides of the leaves.

Managing Two-Spotted Spider Mites in Your Strawberry Bed

  • Spider mite predators (Phytoseiidae mites) are the best control for mites.
  • Insecticidal soaps are best for most spider mite infestations, but horticultural oil (not dormant oil) may work if used frequently.
  • Soap and oil only kill mites when sprayed directly and don’t affect the foliage.
  • Spray the underside of leaves, where most mites are. 

20 Strawberry Diseases

Below is a list of 20 strawberry diseases and the pathogens primarily responsible for the infections they cause. The list is alphabetized and not in the order of prevalence.

#DiseasePathogens Responsible
1Alternaria Black SpotAlternaria alternata
2Angular Leaf SpotXanthomonas fragariae (bacteria)
3Anthracnose Fruit RotColletotrichum acutatum
4Black Root RotPythium spp., Fusarium spp., Rhizoctonia spp. Fungi. Also lesion nematode (P. penetrans)
5Charcoal RotMacrophomina phaseolina (fungus)
6Eye Spot (Common Leaf Spot)Mycosphaerella fragariae (fungus)
7Fusarium WiltFusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae
8Fruit Rot and Leaf BlotchGnomonia comari sensu lato
9Green PetalMycoplasma-like organism (MLO)
10Gray MoldBotrytis cinerea
11Leather RotPhytophthora cactorum
12Phytophthora Crown RotPhytophthora cactorum
13Powdery MildewPodosphaera aphanis
14Red Stele Root RotPhytophthora fragariae
15Root-Knot NematodesMeloidogyne hapla
16Root-Lesion NematodesPratylenchus penetrans
17Sclerotinia Fruit RotSclerotinia sclerotiorum
18Scorch DiseaseDiplocarpon earlianum
19VirusesStrawberry Mottle Virus (SMoV)Strawberry Mild Yellow Edge virus (SMYEV)
20Phomopsis Leaf BlightPhomopsis obscurants

20 Common Strawberry Diseases and How to Manage Them 

1. Alternaria Black Spot (Alternaria alternate)

Alternaria black spot is an opportunistic strawberry disease that affects hail-damaged strawberry fruit or fruit damaged by excessive mite infestations or other physical or biological injuries. 

Alternaria black spot is classified as a secondary infection because the fungus does not cause direct injury but thrives on already damaged strawberry fruit.

2. Angular Leaf Spot (Xanthomonas fragariae)

"Close-up photograph of a strawberry leaf showing the symptoms of Alternaria black spot disease. The leaf has numerous small, dark circular spots surrounded by a yellow halo, indicating the presence of the fungal pathogen Alternaria. The leaf appears wilted and may be starting to dry out."
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Strawberry angular leaf spot disease, caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas fragariae, is frequently mistaken for familiar strawberry leaf spot (Mycosphaerella leaf spot) and leaf scorch diseases.

Other leaf spot diseases are listed below: Mycosphaerella leaf spot and scorch disease. 

Once the strawberry angular (bacterial) leaf spot has developed, little can be done until the wet, chilly conditions abate. Fortunately, strawberry leaf spot has a minor impact on yields.

Managing Angular (Bacterial) Leaf Spot

  • Use certified plants free of angular (bacterial) leaf spots.
  • Choose a site with good air circulation and sun exposure to accelerate foliage drying.
  • Control weeds.
  • Improve air circulation.
  • Use floating row covers.
  • Avoid using overhead irrigation if possible.
  • Ensure all strawberry debris is removed, composted, or incorporated into the soil.
  • Rotation is ineffective.

3. Anthracnose Fruit Rot (Colletotrichum acutatum)

Crown rot (bud rot damp) is a significant disease in warm production areas, such as the southeastern United States, where temperatures exceed 77°F/25°C. It is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum, which kills strawberry plants by infiltrating crown tissue aggressively.

Anthracnose strawberry diseases are why most strawberry transplant production has shifted to the cooler north.

Management

  • Purchase disease-free transplants and resistant cultivars.
  • Use watering methods that limit foliar wetness, such as drip irrigation. 
  • Lowering nitrogen rates helps reduce infection risk.

4. Black Root Rot (Pythium, Fusarium, and Rhizoctonia spp. fungi. Also lesion nematode (P. penetrans))

"A close-up photo of a plant with wilted leaves and blackened roots, indicating the presence of black root rot disease. The soil surrounding the roots is dry and crumbly, and the plant appears to be struggling to survive."
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Strawberry diseases can be divided into leaf diseases, diseases that affect strawberry flowers, and root diseases.

Common root-related strawberry diseases include freeze injury, red stele, verticillium wilt, and black root rot. Healthy roots are white throughout, whereas freeze injury causes the cells in the entire root to burst to turn the whole root system black.

Red stele affects thinner parts of the root system, like the tips. Some roots may appear healthy outside but will show signs of internal damage when cut.

In black root rot, roots are partially black in some sections and on thicker roots, the core is still white. Black root rot also affects the plant’s shoulder just above the ground.

Verticillium wilt affects some roots on the plant and not others. The affected roots are entirely dark throughout (like freeze injury). The fungus also affects the plant cells above the soil surface. 

Managing Black Root Rot

  • Soil health and management choices affect BRR more than plant sources. 
  • Choose a site that gets adequate sun and has soil that drains well. 
  • Rotate strawberries every three years into beds that don’t host Rhizoctonia spp., including crucifers and legumes. Sweet corn and pumpkins are good choices.
  • Reduce strawberry plant diseases by reducing stress factors. Mulching and irrigation maintain moisture and prevent temperature stress. 
  • Overusing herbicides may increase black root rot susceptibility. 
  • Keep soil organic and uncompacted.

5. Charcoal Rot (Macrophomina phaseolina fungus)

A close-up photo of several bright red strawberries with charcoal rot. The strawberries are arranged in a group, with some of them showing black, sunken areas on their surfaces. The overall image has a dark and ominous feel due to the presence of the charcoal rot.
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Charcoal rot is more prevalent in warmer regions. Plant mortality is high, with more than half of infected fields perishing.

Plants initially show signs of water stress and eventually collapse. Cutting the crowns of affected plants reveals firm dark brown necrotic areas along the margins and in the woody vascular ring.

M. phaseolina is a common soil-borne pathogen in many warm regions and may infect subsequent vegetable crops planted after strawberries, such as squash, peppers, and legumes.

Generally, temperatures around 86º F/30°C, sandy soils, and low soil moisture favor infection and disease development.

Control

  • Increase your soil organic content by compost additions
  • Ensuring adequate temperature management protocols (mulching and drip-feed hydration) will help prevent charcoal rot from becoming problematic.

6. Eye Spot (Leaf Spot) (Mycospharella fragariae fungus)

Strawberry leaf spot, also known as Mycosphaerella, Ramularia, strawberry, and bird’s-eye, is a fungal leaf disease that affects wild and farmed strawberries worldwide.

While it was significant, strawberry familiar leaf spot has been managed by using resistant strawberry varieties/cultivars and improving strawberry farming methods. The disease is now primarily cosmetic.

Managing Fungal Leaf Spot

  • Plant disease-free nursery stock and resistant strawberry types in your strawberry patch.
  • After planting, avoid overhead watering with a sprinkler, spreading the common leaf spot pathogen from plant to plant and providing a wet environment for the fungus to infect—water with a drip or soaker hose.
  • Wait until the strawberry patch is dry before weeding, thinning, or harvesting.
  • Strawberry bed restoration, especially mowing, can help June-bearing strawberries manage common leaf spots.

7. Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae)

Close-up photo of a strawberry leaf with brown, wilted edges and discoloration in the center, caused by the fungal disease known as Fusarium wilt.
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Strawberry Fusarium wilt is caused by the fungus F. oxysporum f. Sp. fragariae. The symptoms include foliage withering, plant stunting, and the drying and death of older infected leaves, while the youngest leaves in the center of the plant often remain green and alive.

Symptoms usually develop after the plants have been established for a while. Plants carrying big fruit burdens or under stress frequently exhibit the most severe symptoms.

Plants can eventually collapse and perish. When vascular and cortical tissues are examined, the internal tissues of plant tops are dark to orange-brown.

As previously stated, the interior tissues of the major roots are usually not discolored.

Fusarium wilt is frequently more severe when weather extremes, a lack or excess of water, poor soil conditions, or big fruit loads stress the afflicted plant.

Managing Strawberry Fusarium Wilt

  • Choose fields with no history of Fusarium wilt.
  • Resistant plant varieties.
  • Rotate with any non-strawberry crop or with crops that can control the disease.
  • Avoid causing stress on the plants.

8. Fruit Rot and Leaf Blotch (Gnomonia comari sensu lato)

Gnomonic leaf blotch and fruit rot infrequently occurs in annual strawberry production systems and is frequently linked to plant source.

The pathogen is usually found on foliage, although it can also infect flower parts and cause stem-end fruit lesions on rare occasions.

Gnomonic fruit rot infects leaves, causing brownish to purplish lesions that start tiny but spread to vast areas, especially when lesions consolidate to form broad blotchy areas of leaf damage. Lesions come in various colors and can be seen on the upper leaf surface and below.

Management 

  • Remove all infected berries and residues of previous crops from the soil. 
  • Thoroughly compost all old plant material once removed or bury deeply on- or off-site. 
  • Remove and dispose of any fruit rot and infected dead leaves.
  • Keep leaves as dry as possible using cloches. Avoid overhead irrigation.
  • Chemicals may be ineffective in conditions that favor the disease (cold with regular showers).
  • The disease is often more widespread on the strawberry bed’s outside rows, where drips may fall on the plants as the cloche’s sides are raised and lowered for picking access.

9. Green Petal (Mycoplasma-like organism (MLO))

Close-up image of several unripe green strawberries still attached to their stems, growing on a plant with green leaves and white flowers in the background.
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Green-petal MLO is caused by mycoplasma-like organisms (MLO) that are spread by clover leafhoppers. The leaves form dark green curls upwards, and the fruit remains unripe.

Management

  • Strawberries should not be planted too close to clover. 
  • Planting sites and cultivars must be chosen cautiously in places with a risk of infection.

10. Gray Mold (Botrytis cinerea)

Botrytis fruit rot (gray mold) is a devastating strawberry disease rare in day-neutral strawberries. 

Infected fruit has a gray mold. Botrytis also lives in the plant’s petioles and leaves. Contributing factors to gray mold are high humidity and spread assisted by wind and water.

The gray mold infection may survive on green tissue, but lesions form and mold spreads as the fruit ripens. 

Management

  • Ensure optimal airflow between plants. Avoid dense canopies.
  • Excessive use of nitrogen in the growing season makes plants more susceptible.
  • General gardening hygiene helps curb gray mold. 
  • Fungus-produced spores are easily spread by watering and wind, so limit wet foliage.

11. Leather Rot (Phytophthora cactorum)

"Two ripe strawberries, with visible signs of decay and mold, sitting on a white table."
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In wet years, leather rot can cause significant losses in fruit yield, and it is especially bothersome when sick fruit is mixed in with healthy fruit. Jams and preserves created from diseased fruit may produce bitter jams and jellies.

Phytophthora spp. can also cause strawberry crown rot, while the two diseases do not always co-occur.

Diseased patches on green fruit remain firm. The green color may persist with brown edges around affected places, but the entire fruit eventually becomes brown with a tough and leathery texture.

Even if the color does not change, infected mature fruit has a bitter, disagreeable flavor and odor. The primary symptom of leather rot is similar to sun-scald.

Management

  • Choose a planting location that is well-drained and gets enough sun. 
  • Raised beds and appropriate row orientation can help to reduce surplus moisture even further.
  • Proper strawberry plant spacing and weed control are essential for promoting airflow and rapid drying of plant surfaces.
  • Mulches can limit fruit-to-soil contact, offer a barrier between the strawberry plant and standing water, and reduce rain splash. 

12. Phytophthora Crown Rot (Phytophthora cactorum)

Strawberry infection by Phytophthora cactorum occurs in warm areas on poorly drained, over-irrigated soils or during long periods of rain.

Disease symptoms are exacerbated during periods of high water demand, such as after transplanting, during hot, dry weather, or as the fruit burden increases.

A collapse of plants and a deep dark red coloring of the crown are the most distinguishing features of plants with advanced symptoms.

The earliest indications are strawberry plant stunting or wilting of young leaves, which can emerge at any point during the season.

This is similar to Anthracnose crown rot, but the cause and control differ.

Management

  • Use healthy starter plants
  • Cull severely infected plants
  • Choose a location with good soil drainage and avoid fields with a disease history. 
  • Plant in raised beds on higher ground to avoid wet feet
  • Use good irrigation techniques; do not overwater, as the pathogen spreads through runoff. 
  • Drip irrigation should be used instead of overhead or mist irrigation.

13. Powdery Mildew (Podosphaera aphanis)

"Close-up of strawberry leaves covered in white powdery mildew, a fungal disease that causes discoloration and distortion of the plant's leaves, reducing its ability to photosynthesize and potentially affecting fruit quality."
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Powdery mildew is rarely a problem on strawberries grown in annual systems. The pathogen may arrive with northern-grown strawberry transplants, but powdery mildew progression stops once the plants are transplanted into fruiting fields. 

Powdery mildew is a potential issue in matted row production.

The curling of leaf margins, exposing fuzzy white fungal growth on the lower leaf surface, is frequently the first symptom observed.

The patches may gradually blend to cover the entire underside of the leaf. Powdery mildew on strawberry leaves is not as visible as on other plants. 

A heavy powdery mildew infection can severely reduce photosynthesis, impacting plant vigor, fruit yield, and quality.

Management

  • Choose a location with plenty of sunlight. 
  • Look for the earliest signs of powdery mildew, such as leaf deformation and yellowing.
  •  In the spring, look for a dull sheen on mature fruit caused by mildew growth.
  • Determine whether a fungicide spray program is required if a disease is discovered. 

14. Red Stele Root Rot (Phytophthora fragariae)

Strawberry growers in the northern two-thirds of the United States have been severely affected by this root rot disease.

The disease is most harmful in heavy clay soils soaked with water. Once planted in a field or garden, the red stele fungus can live in infected soil for up to 13 years.

Usually, the disease is only seen in the planting’s lower or poorly drained sections; nevertheless, it can spread across the entire patch, especially during a cool, wet spring.

The red stele is likely to cause plants to wilt and die in the lower regions of the strawberry planting. Plants that have been infected become stunted lose their shiny-green luster, and produce few runners.

Younger leaves frequently have a metallic, blueish-green hue to them. Older leaves turn yellow or red prematurely.

Management
  • Good drainage is the key to controlling red stele
  • Planting strawberries on beds raised at least 10 inches above the zone of greatest pathogen activity will elevate much of the root system above the area of greatest pathogen activity, reducing the severity of red stele root rot.
  • The most effective management practice is good soil water management practices.

15. Root-Knot Nematodes (Meloidogyne hapla)

M. hapla is a significant strawberry disease, causing distinctive galls to form on the roots.

M. hapla can cause severe stunting in warm, sandy soils. If other plant infections are present, plant death is likely. Root-knot nematode-infested plants appear to be water-starved.

Management

  • Rotate strawberry crops with grain crops like maize. 
  • Cull the strawberry patch if your strawberry plants have galls, indicating a root-knot nematode infestation.
  • Look for cultivars that are resistant to root-knot nematodes.

16. Root-Lesion Nematodes (Pratylenchus penetrans)

This is the most prevalent plant-parasitic nematode and is commonly hosted in weeds. P. penetrans predisposes plants to invasion by soil fungi such as Cylindrocarpon, Fusarium, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Verticillium.

The strawberry black root rot disease complex is thought to be exacerbated by lesion nematodes, specifically P. penetrans. It has been shown that lesion nematodes and Rhizoctonia fragariae interact to promote the growth of strawberry black root rot.

P. penetrans causes the most damage on light, sandy soils.

Management

Crop rotation is ineffective at controlling lesion nematodes. A better alternative is introducing healthy microorganisms into the soil using high-quality compost.

The most effective control technique is to plant P. penetrans-free nursery stock. The susceptibility of strawberry types to black root rot varies.

Weed control is also critical.

17. Sclerotinia Fruit Rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum)

Sclerotia are small, rigid, irregular, black formations found on or in infected plant tissue, leading to fluffy white growth on afflicted plant sections, most noticeable in high humidity.

Sclerotia can be found in soil and on the waste of diseased plants. Any contact with Scierotia spreads the disease. In optimal environmental conditions, mushroom-like formations (apothecia) form and emit airborne spores.

Management

  • Use only compost from high-temperature (aerobic thermophilic) processes.
  • Strawberries should not be grown where white mold is not a problem. 
  • Adequate sanitation is essential for limiting spread, as is weed control.

18. Scorch Disease (Diplocarpon earlianum)

A close-up photograph of a strawberry plant with leaves that have brown, crispy edges and spots. This is likely an example of leaf scorch, a common disease in matted row systems but rare in annual production systems.
“Identifying Leaf Scorch in Strawberry Plants: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention. Learn how to tackle this common disease in matted row systems. #StrawberryPlants #LeafScorch #DiseasePrevention”

Leaf scorch is a frequent strawberry disease in matted row systems but uncommon in annual production systems.

The leaf scorch virus can live and produce disease in a wide range of temperatures, and it has been observed that it causes illness on perennial crops all year.

In annual production systems, the leaf scorch can spread on transplants or tips and build up in the field during the plug production phase in the early fall. However, the infection will have no effect next spring.

Leaf scorch causing D. earlianum population in matted row systems might reach dangerous proportions. Fungus-produced spores are formed on the lower leaf surfaces of dead infected leaves and are dispersed by wind and splashing rain.

Leaf scorch spread is aided by leaf moisture in warm weather (68 to 86°F/20 – 30C) and is likely to become more prevalent on older plantings of vulnerable types.

The pathogen can go dormant in dry conditions, but if wet conditions return, they become active again.

Management

  • Choose a planting site with sufficient air, drainage, and sun exposure.
  • Use resistant cultivars.
  • Plant additional transplants regularly, with enough space between them to allow airflow.
  • Control weeds.
  • Avoid using extra nitrogen in the spring.
  • Monitor irrigation schedules to keep moisture levels low, avoiding protracted periods of wetness.
  • If possible, use a drip irrigation system rather than overhead irrigation.
  • Remove foliage and crop debris after harvest or during restoration.

19. Viruses

Strawberry mottle and strawberry mild yellow edge viruses are usually not severe issues in yearly production systems or nursery operations.

However, a low incidence is possible. Individual viral strains may not be a concern in some circumstances, but significant plant impacts may emerge when two or more viruses mix.

Some aphids spread these viruses.

Management

  • Purchase strains that are resistant to virus infection. Keep aphid infestations to a minimum – see aphids above

20. Phomopsis Leaf Blight (Phomopsis obscurans)

A close-up photograph of a strawberry plant leaf with visible signs of leaf blight, characterized by small brown spots and patches on the green surface. The leaf is partially covered by a shadow, and the background consists of other green leaves and blurry foliage.
“Identifying and Treating Strawberry Leaf Blight – Common Leaf Disease in Warmer Regions. Learn More Here.” #StrawberryLeafBlight #LeafDisease #GardeningTips

Strawberry leaf blight is one of the most common leaf diseases, especially in warmer regions. Infected leaves develop pink, round, water-soaked spots. 

Diseased plants have less ability to produce food for the plants, so fruit yield decreases. The disease progresses, forming enlarged spots that turn brown.

The fungus overwinters within infested plant debris or infected plant parts.

Management

  • Plant resistant varieties
  • Garden hygiene
  • Optimize airflow
  • Avoid wetting leaves

FAQs on The Ultimate Guide to Pest and Disease Control in Strawberry Gardening

How do you control strawberry diseases?

To control strawberry diseases, focus on prevention by keeping plants healthy, using disease-resistant varieties, removing infected plants promptly, and avoiding overhead watering. Apply fungicides and practice crop rotation when necessary.

What do you use to protect strawberry plants?

To protect strawberry plants, use row covers, apply fungicides, mulch, and water consistently, remove infected foliage, use beneficial insects, and plant in nutrient-rich soil.

How do you grow strawberries without pests?

Tips for growing strawberries without pests: use healthy plants, well-drained soil, adequate sunlight and air circulation, organic pest control methods, crop rotation, and prompt fruit harvesting.

In Closing

Common strawberry leaf diseases can be tied to overhead irrigation, inadequate airflow, and insufficient sunlight. Root health is commonly related to drainage and organic matter content. These five factors can go a long way to keeping your strawberries healthy.

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