By Tammy Sons
Strawberries, just like most of the other plants, are susceptible to many diseases. It is really crucial to know about the common diseases and pests that have the capacity to cause severe damage to your strawberry plants.
In case if you do not supervise and take care of the plants then they will become vulnerable to damage. You would obviously not want your precious strawberries to get devoured by insects and pests. Apart from pests there are some common diseases that have the potential of destroying your strawberry plants—
Botrytis Gray Mold
—It is one of the most common diseases that affect strawberry plants and it is caused by fungi known as Botrytis cinerea. The disease can be identified by the appearance of brown colored soft spots on the berry. It eventually spreads and covers the entire berry with gray dusty mold. The fruits tend to rot and if not removed from the plant then the infection can spread to the other parts. Plants that are grown in damp and shady areas are more susceptible to Botrytis gray mold. The disease can be prevented by planting resistant varieties that are available in the market. Also, ensure that the plants are grown in a sunny location. There should be ample spacing between the plants to allow air- circulation. Fungicides are also effective in controlling the disease to quite an extent.
—Verticillium Wilt is a soil borne fungal disease that affects the roots of strawberry plants. The symptoms include wilting and drying of leaves. Severely damaged plants have the tendency to die soon. The disease can be prevented by growing resistant varieties. Strawberries should not be grown for atleast two years on the land where tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers have been cultivated recently.
Angular Leaf Spot
—Angular Leaf Spot is a bacterial disease caused by Xanthomonas fragariae and it affects the leaves of the strawberry plants. The symptoms include angular spots on the leaves and it eventually causes defoliation of the plant. Copper fungicides are said to be effective but excessive use can destroy the plants so make sure to use only the recommended quantities. Disease resistant varieties are not available to prevent angular leaf spot.
Black Root Rot
—Black Root Rot is caused by fungi that attacks the roots of plants. The roots of the plants affected turn black in color and it results in stunted growth. The affected plants produce very few runners and fruits. It is advisable to remove the affected plants to prevent the disease from spreading to the surrounding plants. The disease can be controlled by planting strawberries in well- drained soil. Fumigating and rotating the sites instead of planting in the same patch are also helpful.
—Leather Rot is also a soil borne fungal disease that can turn really bad during wet conditions and rainy season. The disease causes the berries to turn brown in color. The fruit eventually becomes leathery in appearance and it decays. Using fungicides and mulching the soil can help in controlling this disease.
These are some of the common diseases that can cause serious damage to the entire crop if not controlled on time. You should plant disease resistant varieties of strawberries that are available in the nurseries to prevent the plants from getting damaged. You can also choose best quality plants from online nurseries that provide delivery at your doorstep.