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Situation: Southern fields will open in earnest this week, as we hope to see a stretch of nice weather to see us through the harvest. The crop size and quality looks very good in most fields, except in the few where injury from root weevils has seriously reduced plant vigor. Most fields are past the point where clipper or tarnished plant bug could cause injury, and scouting should focus on pests that attack ripe fruit, such as sap beetles, slugs, birds, and anthracnose fruit rot. The Strawberry IPM Newsletter will take a couple of weeks off while we enjoy the harvest and will be back with our Renovation Issue in July.
Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper”: All fields scouted this week were well beyond the bud stage, when clipper poses a threat. Keep in mind that these insects could still pose a threat to raspberries or blackberries that are still in the bud stage.
Tarnished plant bugs continue to be absent in most fields scouted this week. However, we have seen a few nymphs in more northern and coastal fields where plant development is behind fields in the south. Therefore, fields that still have some plants in bloom or are just at petal fall should continue to be scouted for tarnished plant bugs nymphs, and controls should be applied if they exceed the threshold of 4 or more flower/fruit clusters infested with nymphs out of 30 clusters sampled. Observe days-to-harvest restrictions on any insecticide used for tarnished plant bugs if you are nearing harvest on early varieties in the same field.
Two-spotted spider mites: The on again, off again cool wet weather appears to have kept spider mite populations very low in strawberry fields this spring. Nearly all fields scouted were free of mites, meaning that they will be very unlikely to require spider mite management prior to the end of harvest season.
Diseases: Fields still in the bloom to late bloom stage may still need a fungicide spray to protect the blossoms from infection by spores, especially if they have been through recent rains. Some varieties tend to be more susceptible to gray mold, and may need some special attention, given the amount of moisture we have had; for example Cabot, Cavendish and, anecdotally, Wendy. If you start seeing symptoms on ripening fruit, you can use a fungicide to prevent secondary infections, such as Elevate® or Switch®, which are very good against Botrytis and have no days to harvest restrictions. Oxidate® would be a similar option for organic growers.
Anthracnose fruit rot: Remain vigilant for this fruit rot. Anthracnose is favored by warm, wet conditions, and this could occur, given the recent rains. Anthracnose appears as black sunken lesions on the sides of the fruit, and can appear suddenly and widespread in a field. Fungicides including Cabrio® and Abound® can provide control of this fruit rot.
Review: Keeping Strawberries Fresh for Market
If you‘re bringing fruit to market, make sure that it arrives in the best condition possible. Strawberries cool most efficiently if harvested early in the morning before they build up any field heat. Place fruit into refrigerated storage quickly and keep it out of direct sunlight. Fruit should be stored at 32° Fahrenheit and 95% relative humidity. Cold air should be moved through the boxes or flats of fruit with a circulating fan and/or exhaust fan to cool most efficiently. Temperatures lower than 32° may freeze the fruit and ruin its fresh quality. A small, well-insulated building cooled with air conditioners and fans can provide effective temporary storage for strawberries. If you don’t have refrigeration facilities, keep the fruit as cool as possible by harvesting when air temperatures are cool, and keeping it out of direct sunlight. Transport the fruit to market as quickly as possible, and harvest only what you think you can sell in a day.
Annual Pre-Harvest Checklist for Pick-Your-Own
It’s that time again! As harvest approaches, we like to remind you to take a moment and make sure that your farm is prepared to give your customers an enjoyable experience. Take our annual review below to evaluate your customer readiness.
√ Signs to the farm are neat and easy to read.
√ There is easy access to the fields and plenty of parking.
√ Someone is ready to greet customers and offer parking instructions and directions to the field.
√ Access to the field is free of hazards.
√ Transportation is provided for the elderly and disabled.
√ The rules regarding picking are clearly posted.
√ Someone is in the field to show customers where to pick and to answer questions.
√ There are plenty of picking containers available.
√ Clean restroom and hand washing facilities are available.
√ Someone is available to help customers carry fruit out of the field.
√ The checkouts are fast and efficient.
√ Beverages are available.
√ Shade and seats are available for customers wanting to rest.
√ The help are friendly and knowledgeable.
A friendly, clean, and organized atmosphere will leave a lasting impression on your customers, encouraging them to come back and to recommend your farm to their friends.
Hold the Date!
Highmoor Farm Field Day is on Thursday, July 21, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration fee is $15.00, including lunch, and no preregistration is required. For more information, visit the website: www.extension.umaine.edu/highmoor/ or call 207.933.2100.
David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist
Highmoor Farm Pest Management
P.O. Box 179 491 College Ave
Monmouth, ME 04259 Orono, ME 04473
Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment. A Member of the University of Maine System.
Any person with a disability who needs accommodations for this program should contact Pam St. Peter at 207.933.2100 to discuss their needs at least 7 days in advance.
Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.
Image Description: Strawberries
Image Description: Large Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph
Image Description: Gray Mold on Strawberries
Image Description: Anthracnose on Strawberry
Image Description: Strawberry Harvest
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