Posts Tagged ‘Maine strawberries’

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 7 – July 15, 2013

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Strawberries

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 7 – July 15, 2013

RENOVATION AND WEED MANAGEMENT ISSUE

Spotted Wing Drosophila, White Grubs Threaten Berries this Summer

The winter of 2012-2013 gave us a cold, snowless start that resulted in some winter injury in exposed strawberry fields. But good snow cover later in the winter kept damage from being severe in most locations. Good growing conditions early in the spring got plants off to a quick start with a few frosts to threaten early blooming varieties. Rain during much of the bloom period raised concerns about pollination, but going into harvest the crop looked pretty good. Unfortunately, the weather just couldn’t cooperate for much of the harvest season, with heavy rain and very hot, humid conditions, especially on weekends, which kept many of the u-pick customers at home. Pickers did come out during the short intervals of decent weather and saved the harvest from being a big loss; and pre-picked sales were good, but for most farms the end result was a season that was only fair. Timely fungicide sprays through the rain provided good protection in most fields, as gray mold was kept to a minimum in spite of all the moisture. Foliar diseases, such as powdery mildew and leaf spot began to show up towards the end of the season. Insect pressure was generally light, although some fields were weakened but white grubs feeding on plant roots.

Don’t forget about your strawberries after harvest.  Follow the recommended renovation steps listed below as soon after harvest as possible; and continue to scout for and manage disease, insect and weed problems as they arise. Some of the more common issues to be alert for during the summer are listed below.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew, photo by David Handley

Leaf Scorch

Leaf Scorch, photo by David Handley

DISEASES:  Foliar diseases should be monitored in your fields by regularly examining leaves. All of the common leaf diseases were present in fields this spring and we should expect that they will continue to be a problem through the summer. The most common summer diseases are powdery mildew, leaf spot and leaf scorch. Fungicides available for these diseases include captan, Topsin-M®, Cabrio®, Pristine® and Abound®. See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for detailed descriptions of these diseases and their management.

Black root rot is a disease complex which can be brought on by a combination of problems, including nematodes, soil fungi (Rhizoctonia, Pythium), herbicide carryover, and soil compaction. Plants become weak and may wilt and die. Roots on affected plants are black and poorly developed. This tends to be a problem in fields that have been in strawberries constantly for many seasons, and in fields that are under stress in other ways, such as winter injury. Rotating fields to crops other than strawberries for at least three years is an important management strategy for black root rot. Improving soil drainage and breaking up hardpans in the soil may also help. Pre-plant root dips with azoxystrobin (Abound®) may also reduce incidence of black root rot in some fields.

Black Vine Weevil

Black Vine Weevil, photo by David Handley

Strawberry Root Weevil Grub

Strawberry Root Weevil Grub, photo by David Handley

INSECTS: If black vine weevils or strawberry root weevils are a problem in a strawberry field that you would like to carry over, bifenthrin (Brigade®, Bifenture®) can be applied when adult feeding is noticed (usually until mid-late July). Look for notching along the leaf edges and the presence of the black or brown snout beetles. Applications should be made at night when these insects are active, and the highest rate of the insecticide should be used. For control of the grubs a soil drench of Platinum® (thiamethoxam) insecticide should be applied during the fall and/or early spring when the grubs are active in the soil. This product has a 50 day pre-harvest interval and may also be used as a pre-plant or planting treatment for root weevils. Parasitic nematodes such as Heterorhabditis bacteriophora or Steinernema feltiae can also be applied to provide control of root weevil grubs in late August. Nematodes require specialized handling and application. Contact us or talk with one of the suppliers for more details. See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for sources.

White Grub

White Grub, Photo by David Handley

White grubs have been a problem in some fields over the past few seasons.  The grubs may be the larvae of several species of scarab beetles, including June beetles, rose chafers, Japanese beetles, Asiatic garden beetles and European chafers. The beetles lay their eggs in June and July and the grubs feed on the roots of strawberries from July through mid September. Affected plants will be stunted and wilted and may die during dry periods. Pulling up plants reveals that roots have been chewed off about an inch below the soil line. Sifting through the soil below the plants may reveal the whitish crescent-shaped grubs which can range in size from 3/8 inch to almost 1 ½ inches long, with six legs near the head and a swollen rear-end. The two most effective periods to treat plantings for grubs are in the spring prior to when they pupate (May) and in the late summer when the next generation is actively feeding (late August). Materials should be applied with plenty of water to moist soil to be sure they reach the root zone. Materials currently registered for control of grubs include Platinum® and Admire Pro®. Parasitic nematodes can also provide control of grubs and should be applied with similar timing. Nematodes are very sensitive to ultraviolet light and dehydration and must be applied with lots of water. See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for sources of parasitic nematodes.

Strawberry Rootworm Beetle

Strawberry Rootworm Beetle, photo by James Dill

Strawberry rootworm (not root weevil) is a small (1/8″) dark brown to black beetle which feeds on strawberry foliage, causing it to look skeletonized. The small larvae feed on strawberry roots, further weakening the plant. Adult feeding damage on the leaves usually occurs in late July through August. Heavy rootworm feeding weakens strawberry plants so control is warranted when injury is noticed.

Keep a lookout for potato leafhoppers, which can weaken strawberry plants and spread disease. The potato leafhopper does not overwinter in Maine, but must fly in from southern states. These small, bullet-shaped insects feed on plant sap from the undersides of leaves, causing the leaves to become curled, stunted and yellow-streaked. Symptoms are often first noticed in new strawberry plantings, but leafhoppers will also infest older plantings and a variety of vegetables, flowers and fruit crops. To scout for leafhoppers, brush the leaves of the plants with your hand. The small, whitish adults can be seen flying off the plant. Examine the underside of some injured leaves. Look for small, light green leafhopper nymphs. They are about 1/16 inch long. When touched, they will crawl sideways in a crab-like manner. Controls for potato leafhoppers include malathion, carbaryl or Provado®.

MITES:  Two-spotted spider mites can become problems during the summer. Continue to take leaf samples for spider mites after renovation. If more than 25% of a 60-leaf sample has mites, controls should be applied. Summer is an ideal time to use predatory mites to control pest mites, because they prefer warm temperatures, and there is less chance of an insecticide spray that might kill them. Amblyseius fallacis can provide good control of two-spotted spider mites when they are released at a rate of about 10,000 mites per acre. Predator mite releases should only be made after a spider mite infestation has been found in the field. Releasing predators into a clean field will often result in them dying, due to a lack of food.  See the New England Small Fruit Management Guide for sources of predatory mites.

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites, photo by David Handley

Cyclamen Mite Damage

Cyclamen Mite Damage, photo by David Handley

Cyclamen mites:  Plants showing weak growth and yellow, crinkled leaves may be infested with cyclamen mite. Cyclamen mites are very small and reside down in the crown of the strawberry plant feeding on the developing leaves. They are very hard to see, even with magnification.  Miticides such as Thionex®, Kelthane® or Portal® can be effective, but must be applied with lots of water to be sure that the material is carried down into the crowns. If you suspect you have this problem, give us a call.

WEEDS:  Weeds can become a big problem during the summer because they are often forgotten among all the other demands on our time and because of limited control options. However, the importance of good weed management should not be underestimated.  Keeping weeds under control this summer will prevent future infestations. Here’s a summary of weed control options for strawberries:

1.  Cultivation:  Following renovation, cultivation between strawberry rows can provide effective temporary control of annual weeds. Several types of cultivators are available which will work well in strawberry beds. Cultivators can also be used to help sweep runners into the plant rows.

2.  DCPA (Dacthal®):  A pre-emergent herbicide used in the early spring, late fall or after renovation. It offers good, short-term control of some annual broadleaf weeds and grasses. It is weak on ragweed, galinsoga, smartweed, shepherd’s purse and mustard. Its action will be improved if worked into the soil by irrigation or light cultivation, and it tends to work best in lighter, warmer soils. This may be used as an alternative to terbacil or napropamide when there is a high risk of plant injury from those products.

3.  Napropamide (Devrinol®):  A pre-emergent herbicide which provides good control of annual grasses, volunteer grains and some broadleaf weeds. It is typically applied just before mulching in the fall. Split applications have become popular due to the loss of other pre-emergent herbicides, e.g. half maximum rate application after renovation or in late summer after desired daughter plants have rooted, and a second half rate application once the strawberry plants are dormant. Napropamide should be activated by irrigation, rainfall or light cultivation within 24 hours of application. Repeated long-term use of this material, i.e. with no crop rotation, may eventually result in poor daughter plant establishment, due to rooting inhibition.

4.  Terbacil (Sinbar®):  An effective pre-emergent herbicide with some post-emergent activity, which should be applied at renovation time – after mowing and tilling the beds, but before new growth begins. A second application can be made in late fall, after the plants are dormant. No more than 6 oz. may be applied in a single application, and no more than 8 oz. may be applied in one season.  An example of one season’s use could be 5 oz. applied at renovation and 3 oz. applied in the late fall, the latter in addition to napropamide or DCPA. Terbacil can cause injury to strawberry plants.  It is important to determine appropriate rates for each location.

5.  Sethoxydim (Poast®): A post-emergent herbicide for control of actively growing grasses. It will not control broadleaf weeds. It should not be applied when grasses are under stress, e.g. drought, or on unusually hot, humid days. Do not use sethoxydim within six weeks of a terbacil (Sinbar®) application to avoid leaf injury.  Sethoxydim should be used in combination with a crop oil concentrate. Do not tank mix with 2, 4-D.

6.  Clethodim (Arrow®, Prism®, Select®):  A post-emergent herbicide, similar in activity to Poast®, for control of actively growing grasses. It will not control broadleaf weeds. It should not be applied when grasses are under stress, e.g. drought, or on unusually hot, humid days. Clethodim should be used in combination with a crop oil concentrate.

7.  Paraquat (Gramoxone Inteon®):  A contact herbicide for post-emergent control of most annual weeds and suppression of many perennial weeds. Paraquat will injure or kill strawberries, so applications are made between rows only, with a sprayer shielded to protect the strawberries. It should be used in combination with a nonionic surfactant. Paraquat should not be applied within 21 days of harvest or more than three times in one season.

8.  Pelargonic Acid (Scythe®):  A contact herbicide for post-emergent control of most annual weeds and suppression of many perennial weeds. Scythe® will injure or kill strawberries, so applications are made between rows only, with a sprayer shielded to protect the strawberries. This product has a relatively low toxicity and no residual soil activity. It has a strong, unpleasant odor.

9.  2,4-D Amine (Formula 40®, Amine 4):  A post-emergent herbicide effective on most broadleaf perennial weeds. It will not control grasses, nor offer any pre-emergent control.  2,4-D should be applied immediately after harvest is complete if emerged broadleaf weeds are a problem. After application, the bed should be left undisturbed for three to five days, before mowing the leaves off the plants. This allows time for the material to be taken in by the weeds. This material can also be used when the plants are dormant (late fall or early spring) to control winter annuals and biennials. Fall applications may result in injury to the strawberries if the plants are not completely dormant. Do not tank mix 2,4-D with sethoxydim (Poast®).

10.  Flumloxazin (Chateau®):  A pre-emergent herbicide for control of broadleaf weeds, including dandelion and shepherd’s purse. For use in the fall when plants are dormant for control of weeds the following spring.

11.  Pendimethalin (Prowl H20®):  A pre-emergent herbicide that may be applied as a band with a shielded sprayer between the rows of strawberries. No weed control will be provided within the plant rows, and contact of this product on the strawberry plants will cause injury. May not be applied within 35 days of harvest.

The use of herbicides alone rarely gives complete weed control. Some hand weeding will be necessary. To provide good weed control throughout the life of a strawberry bed, growers should concentrate on crop rotation and good pre-plant weed control.

Strawberry Bed Renovation Review

Bed renovation should begin as soon after harvest as possible. The earlier the beds get renovated, the more time runner plants have to develop, which means larger crowns and more flower buds for next year. Early renovation also improves weed management by tilling in many weeds before they go to seed, and can help with insect and foliar disease control by interfering with life cycles at a critical stage of development. The first step in the bed renovation process is to determine which beds should be carried over for another year and which should be plowed down and put into a crop rotation. Beds that did not suffer much from winter injury had good production and a good plant stand with no major weed, insect or disease problems should be carried over for another year.  Beds that do not meet these criteria should be plowed down and seeded to a suitable cover crop to reduce weed, insect and disease problems that have developed, and to increase soil organic matter content. Ideally, beds that are plowed down should be rotated out of strawberries for at least three years. If properly managed, crop rotation will greatly reduce pest problems and improve the vigor and longevity of strawberry beds without the need for soil fumigation.

Renovating a strawberry bed is basically a thinning process to promote healthy new growth that can support a good crop next spring. While some parts of the following renovation scheme may need to be modified for individual situations, all beds should undergo the following steps once harvest is complete.

1.  Broadleaf weed control:  If perennial broadleaf weeds such as dandelion, shepherd’s purse, daisy or goldenrod are a problem and/or a high population of annual broadleaf weeds such as lambsquarters, sorrel or pigweed are present, hand-pull as many as possible, especially within the plant rows, and/or apply 2,4-D amine (Formula 40®).

Mowing Strawberry Leaves

Mowing Strawberry Leaves, photo by David Handley

2.  Leaf mowing:  Four to five days following the 2,4-D application (or immediately if 2,4-D was not applied) mow off the leaves of the strawberries about 1 ½ inches above the crowns. If the planting is weak, it is recommended that this step of the renovation process be skipped.

3.  Fertilization:  Apply 40 to 60 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre (use the higher rate on sandy soils and fields where growth has been weak). Phosphorus and potassium applications should be made according to soil test recommendations. Soil testing kits and information are available from your county Cooperative Extension office.

4.  Plant thinning:  For the single matted row system, strawberry plant rows should not be any wider than 24 inches. After mowing off the leaves, till the sides of the rows to narrow the beds back to a width of 12 to 18 inches. Use the wider setting for varieties that tend to throw few runners or any fields experiencing drought stress.  Set the tiller so that it incorporates the mowed leaves and spreads about one inch of soil over the remaining crowns at the same time. This will reduce leaf disease and mite problems, and help stimulate new root growth on the remaining plants.

5.  Pre-emergent weed control:  To control annual weeds, apply terbacil (Sinbar® 80WP) according to label directions (2 to 6 oz. per acre). Be sure to follow all label precautions. To avoid plant injury, do not use terbacil if you do not intend to mow off the leaves. Napropamide (Devrinol®) or DCPA (Dacthal®) may be used as an alternative to terbacil at this time, as described below. If you are not using herbicides, regular cultivation, before weeds are more than 2” tall, will be needed throughout the summer.

6.  Subsoiling:  Soil compaction caused by tractor and picker traffic in the field can cause soil drainage problems and interfere with good root development. Using a subsoiling blade between the rows will break up compacted layers of soil and improve water infiltration. Subsoiling is best done late in the renovation sequence to prevent interference from straw and crop residues.

7.  Irrigation:  To encourage rapid plant growth and get the most out of fertilizers and herbicides, irrigate the beds regularly. Strawberries will grow best if they receive 1 ½ inches of water per week during the growing season.

Don’t forget your plants once these renovation steps are completed. Check the strawberry fields regularly during the summer for pest problems. Finding and managing problems early can prevent major problems next spring. Pay close attention to the following items:

NUTRITION:  Following the application of 40 to 60 pounds of actual nitrogen at renovation, another 20 pounds of nitrogen should be applied in mid- to late-August to stimulate flower bud development. One way to determine the nutrient status of strawberry plants during the summer is to have a leaf tissue analysis done. Tissue analysis offers a view of what is happening within the plant, and can spot any nutrient deficiencies. In combination with regular soil tests, tissue analysis will provide a complete picture of a field’s fertilizer needs. For more information about tissue analysis contact: Analytical Lab, 5722 Deering Hall, Rm. 407, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5722, telephone: 581.2945.

Strawberry Irrigation

Strawberry Irrigation, photo by David Handley

Sidedressed Strawberry Planting

Sidedressed Strawberry Planting, photo by David Handley

Pest Management for Day-Neutral Strawberries

Most of the important pests that damage June-bearing varieties can be as much or more of a problem on day-neutral types. Because day-neutral strawberries will have buds, flowers and fruit all occurring at the same time, it is critical to pay close attention to the required number of days to harvest after a pesticide application, to be sure you can safely harvest ripe fruit while still protecting buds and blossoms. Some of the more important pests are listed below, along with currently recommended pesticides and days to harvest as stated on current labels.

Male and Female Spotted Wing Drosophila Flies

Male (left) and Female (right) Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill. Actual size: 2-3 mm.

Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is a new pest which is likely to be a concern for day-neutral strawberries, fall raspberries and blueberries.  This is a small fruit fly, similar to the type that hover around the over-ripe bananas in your kitchen. However, this species will lay its eggs on fruit before it ripens, resulting in fruit that is contaminated with small white maggots just as it is ready to pick. As a result, the fruit quickly rots and has no shelf life.  This insect recently came into the U.S. from northern Asia, and infested Maine berry crops last year. It can complete a generation in under two weeks, with each adult female laying hundreds of eggs. Therefore, millions of flies can be present soon after the introduction of just a few into a field. This makes them very difficult to control, and frequently repeated insecticide sprays (3 to 5 times per week) may be needed to prevent infestations once the insect is present in a field. Spotted winged drosophila can successfully overwinter here, although it may not build up to damaging levels until late in the summer. We have set out monitoring traps for spotted winged drosophila in fruit plantings around the state to determine the activity of this pest in Maine. However, these traps are unlikely to provide early warning, i.e. when we find them in a trap they are probably already established in the field. We will be alerting growers when we find them in Maine. We have found a few spotted wing drosophila in Maine this season, but not yet in damaging numbers. Products that provide good control of drosophila on strawberries include Delegate®, Brigade®, Danitol®, and malathion. Keeping fields clean of over-ripe and rotten fruit can also help reduce the incidence of this insect. For information on identifying spotted wing drosophila and making your own monitoring traps, visit the Michigan State University’s Spotted Wing Drosophila website.

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph, photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bug:  This is one of the most prevalent and persistent pests of day-neutral strawberries, as summer flowering coincides with peak populations of this insect. Adult and nymph stages feed on the flowers and developing fruit, causing them to have seedy ends and other malformations. Regular insecticide applications are often required to keep the damage in check. Scout the flower clusters for adults and nymphs often to determine if controls are necessary. Insecticide products for tarnished plant bug include:

Tarnished Plant Bug

Product Days to Harvest
Brigade® 0
Pyganic® 0
Assail® 1
Dibrom® 1
Rimon® 1
malathion 3
Thionex® 4

 

Two-spotted spider mites:  Mites can become a problem during the summer when the growing conditions are warm and dry.  In addition to infesting the leaves, mites can move onto the fruit, reducing marketability. Plants that are drought-stressed, over fertilized with nitrogen, or prone to dust covering, e.g. growing beside a dirt road, are especially prone to mite infestation. Predatory mites can be an effective means to control spider mites and keep them in check over the season. Releases should only be made when spider mites are present in the field to provide the predators with a source of food. Most of the products labeled for controlling spider mites will also kill predatory mites, so do not use these products after predators have been released. Scout for mites often during the season by examining the undersides of the leaves. Control is warranted if more the 25% of leaves examined have mites.

Two-Spotted Spider Mites

Product Days to Harvest
Brigade® 0
Zeal® 1
Vendex® 1
Acramite® 1
Danitol® 2
Agri-Mek® 2
Oberon® 3
Savey® 3
Kelthane® 3

 

Potato leafhoppers, sap beetles, thrips and spittlebugs may also become problems on day-neutral strawberries, but are less frequently observed than tarnished plant bug and spider mites. Recommendations for these insects can be found in the current edition of the New England Small Fruit Management Guide.

Gray Mold on Strawberries

Gray Mold on Strawberries, photo by James Dill

Foliar and fruit diseases also need to be managed on day-neutral strawberries, and should be controlled in much the same way as they are for June-bearing varieties. Most of the fungicide products labeled to control gray mold, powdery mildew, leaf spot and leaf scorch have either zero or one day to harvest, so protecting blossoms at the same time as fruit is near harvest should not be a problem; but be sure to check labels carefully and schedule your sprays and harvests accordingly. Anthracnose fruit rot can be especially troublesome for day-neutral strawberries, because it grows well under warm conditions and spreads by splashing water, which is encouraged on plastic mulch. Fungicides registered for control of anthracnose include Cabrio®, Abound®, Pristine® and Switch®, all of which have zero days to harvest restriction.

Visit the 2012-2013 New England Small Fruit Management Guide online for more detailed pest information.

Reminder:  Highmoor Farm Field Day and Summer Tour will be held on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration fee is $20 per person, including lunch, and preregistration is strongly encouraged. For more information, visit the Highmoor Farm website or call 207.933.2100. If you are a person with a disability and will need any accommodations to participate in this program, please call Pam St. Peter at Highmoor Farm, 207.933.2100 or TDD 1.800.287.8957 to discuss your needs at least 7 days prior to this event.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME  04259        Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                          1.800.287.0279

Where brand names are used it is for the reader’s information.  No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against products with similar ingredients.  Always consult product label for rates, application instructions and safety precautions.  Users of these products assume all associated risks.

Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of 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.

Handley Talks about Strawberry Crop with Press Herald

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

David Handley, a vegetable and small-fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Monmouth, spoke with the Portland Press Herald about this year’s strawberry crop. Handley said he expects “the closest thing to a normal year we’ve had in a while as far as plant development is concerned,” and Maine is better off than other northeastern states that have had twice as much rain, which leads to rotting fruit.

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 6 – June 14, 2013

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Strawberries

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 6 – June 14, 2013

For full page print version, please see link at the bottom. Click on photos to enlarge.

STRAWBERRY HARVEST STARTS SLOW, BUT PROMISING

Wet, Cool Weather Slows Ripening, Elevates Fruit Rot Threat

Situation: Another cool, wet stretch of weather has slowed strawberry ripening this week. Southern growers are hoping to open for general picking this weekend, but may have to wait until next weekend in some fields, although many are now spot picking fruit for farm stands and farmers markets. The crop looks very good in most fields, despite the recent weather and early indications of winter injury and some frost damage.

Gray Mold on Strawberries

Gray Mold on Strawberries, photo by James Dill

Diseases:  Another round of rain this week has kept the potential for gray mold infections very high. For fields that are still in the early post-bloom stage it is important to keep young fruit protected with fungicides under wet conditions. If the last application was made prior to more than one inch of rainfall, an additional fungicide spray should be considered.

Anthracnose fruit rot has been reported in fields in Massachusetts, and will likely threaten fields in Maine as well, due to the recent rains and warmer temperatures. We recommend use of fungicide products that offer control of both gray mold and anthracnose, such as Pristine® or Cabrio®, as we approach harvest time.

Large Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph

Third Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph, photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bugs will continue to be a problem on later ripening fruit, although development of the nymphs appears to have been hindered by the recent weather. Continue scouting in late ripening fields that still have blossoms or small green fruit for plant bug nymphs and apply a recommended insecticide if the control threshold is exceeded. Pay close attention to pre-harvest intervals of pesticide products as fields begin to ripen. Products registered for control of tarnished plant bug include Assail®, Thionex®, Malathion®, Brigade®, Danitol® and PyGanic®.

Spittlebug

Spittlebug, Photo by David Handley

Spittlebug masses have been noticed in some fields this week. The spittle masses are usually found on the leaf stems just below the leaflets, and annoy pickers who get the spittle on their hands and arms during harvest. Spittlebugs tend to be a greater problem in weedy fields. Pesticides currently registered for spittlebug control include Provado®, Thionex®, Danitol® and Brigade®.

 

Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is a new pest, introduced into Maine in 2011, which appears to have become established here. This insect may be a concern for late ripening strawberries, and will certainly pose a serious threat to day-neutral strawberries, fall raspberries and blueberries. This is a small “vinegar fly”, similar to those that hover around over ripe fruit in your kitchen. However, this species will lay its eggs on fruit before it ripens, so the fruit will be contaminated with small white maggots just as it is ready to pick. Infested fruit quickly rots and has no shelf life. This species can complete a generation in less than two weeks, with each female laying hundreds of eggs, so millions of flies can be present soon after just a few enter a field.  This makes them very difficult to control, and frequently repeated insecticide sprays (3 to 5 times per week) may be needed to prevent infestations once the insect is present. While the spotted winged drosophila can overwinter in Maine, it may not build up to damaging levels until late in the summer. This could mean that June bearing strawberries will not be threatened, but later ripening fruit such as day-neutral strawberries, raspberries and blueberries will need to be protected.

Male and Female Spotted Wing Drosophila Flies

Male (left) and Female (right) Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill. Actual size: 2-3 mm.

A single spotted wing drosophila was caught in a trap in Massachusetts this week. This is not cause for alarm (it’s actually later than the first capture last year), and no controls are being recommended at this time. But it does suggest that this insect will be growing more active in the coming weeks and that populations will start building thereafter. We will be setting out monitoring traps for spotted winged drosophila in fruit plantings around Maine over the next few weeks to gather as much information on it as we can, and determine how much of a threat this pest will pose this season. For more information on this new and important pest, visit Michigan State University’s Spotted Wing Drosophila website. There is a good fact sheet series on this pest available for free download on the Penn State website.

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°F 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°F 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.

Girl with Quarts of Strawberries

 

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 Fruit and Vegetable Growers Field Day July 31, 2013
For more information visit the Highmoor Farm webpage.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME  04259       Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                          1.800.287.0279

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.

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.

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 5 – June 7, 2013

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Strawberries

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 5 – June 7, 2013

For full page print version, please see link at the bottom. Click on photos to enlarge.

STRAWBERRY HARVEST BEGINS IN SOUTHERN MAINE

Tarnished Plant Bug Activity High in Some Fields this Week

Situation:  A stretch of fair weather has moved strawberry development along at a more normal pace over the past few days. The heat and storms of last weekend do not appear to have caused any serious issues in strawberry fields we visited. Leaf spot and tarnished plant bugs were the most common problems seen. Harvest is getting underway in some fields that were under row covers this spring. Most fields are now beyond full bloom and most growers are predicting a “normal” opening date for their pick-your-own fields. Overall, most fields appeared very good this week and the crop looks quite promising.

Diseases:  The risk of gray mold infection remains very high, with significant rainfall predicted over the next few days. It is important to keep blossoms and fruit protected with fungicides under wet conditions. If the last application occurred over a week ago, or more than one inch of rain has fallen since the last application, an additional fungicide spray should be considered.

Anthracnose fruit rot also remains a threat as tropical storms often create the wet fields and high temperatures that are conducive to the development of this fruit rot. It may be best to use a fungicide product that offers control of both gray mold and anthracnose, such as Pristine® or Cabrio®.

Leather rot (Phytopthora cactorum) could also appear in fields if standing water is prevalent for an extended time following heavy rains. Aliette®, Agri-Phos® or Phostrol® applied during fruit development can help prevent leather rot when the risk of this disease is high.

Powdery mildew is just starting to appear in some fields this week. This was encouraged by recent warmer weather. Leaves that are cupping upward are the most notable symptom for this fungus disease, and you may also see red streaking on leaf and flower stems. We anticipate that powdery mildew will become more prevalent soon, because it prefers warm, humid conditions. Fungicides for gray mold that also offer control of powdery mildew include Topsin-M® and Pristine®.

Leaf Spot on Strawberry Plant

Leaf Spot, photo by David Handley

Leaf spot/leaf blight infections were noticed in most fields we scouted this week. Leaf spot or leaf blight, caused by the fungus Phomopsis obscurans, was the most common problem. This disease usually appears on mature leaves as small purple or red spots with white or brown centers. Over time the spots may coalesce into a larger lesion, and give the leaf a burned appearance. The disease can spread onto the fruit stems and calyxes, giving them an unattractive reddish-brown discoloration. Leaf scorch is caused by a different fungus, and has been less common this spring. The spots are smaller and don’t have the white or brown centers. The spots often coalesce to turn the leaves purple and necrotic. Strawberry varieties vary greatly in their susceptibility to leaf spot and leaf scorch, with many having at least some resistance. However, under high disease pressure, many will show some symptoms. Fungicides registered for leaf spots include captan, Topsin-M®, Syllit®, Cabrio®, Rally® and Pristine®.

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph, Photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bug populations were significantly higher in many fields this week. Half of the fields we scouted were over the control threshold for plant bug nymphs and sprays were recommended. At this time we are finding mostly very small, green, first and second instar nymphs. They can be distinguished from similarly colored aphids because they are much more active, and will run rapidly when disturbed. The nymphs and adults are feeding on flowers and developing fruit and will cause the berries to have hard, seedy ends and other malformations. Products registered for control of tarnished plant bug include Assail®, Thionex®, Malathion®, Brigade®, Danitol® and PyGanic®.

Clipper on Strawberry

Clipper on Strawberry, photo by David Handley

Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper” injury has been noted in several fields this week and we found more live clippers than in any previous scouting trips this year. However, most of the injury was to lower order (late, small) flower buds, so the economic significance of the potential fruit loss is minimal, and no sprays were recommended. If your fields still have late varieties in early bloom, you should continue scouting for clipper and apply controls if significant damage is noted to the buds. Be aware the clippers will move on to raspberries and blackberries and clip off their buds, once the strawberries have come into bloom.

Two-spotted spider mites were found in most locations this week but, with the exception of one field, were well below the control threshold. The predicted wet weather will probably slow further spider mite development, at least temporarily; but we still anticipate that populations will rise when hotter, drier weather arrives.

Sap beetles have been found in two fields this week while scouting for tarnished plant bug. This is not cause for alarm yet, but growers should be aware that they are present and keep an eye out for damage as the berries start to ripen. The 1/8 inch long, dark brown beetles chew small holes in ripening fruit, similar to slug injury. They may be seen in the holes they’ve chewed into ripe fruit, but often drop to the ground when disturbed. The best management strategy for sap beetles is good sanitation. Keep the field free of overripe fruit by picking often and thoroughly. Insecticide sprays for this pest can be effective, but should be a last resort during the harvest period. Assail®, Brigade®, Dibrom® and PyGanic® are registered for control of sap beetles with pre-harvest intervals ranging from 12 to 24 hours. Read the product label carefully for this and other application instructions and restrictions.

Birds, specifically cedar waxwings, will soon be moving into fields to feed on ripening fruit. Waxwings often destroy many of the early ripening fruit, despite our best efforts to scare them off. Only by keeping a near constant presence in the field and eliminating roosting sites can you reduce the damage. Feeding is reduced once the fields start to be regularly harvested and customers are present.

Songbirds are protected by law and should not be killed. However, permits may be issued for killing birds by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if they receive a recommendation for such a permit from the Maine Wildlife Services Office (part of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) in Augusta, along with an application from the grower. There is a $50 fee for the application, and it may take over a month for the permit to be processed. The permit is good for one year, so if you have problems this season, consider applying for a permit this winter, to give you the option to kill birds, if necessary, next season. The Wildlife Damage Office has recommendations for managing birds in crops, and some control options available through their office. For more information call the office in Augusta at 207.629.5181. The office is located in the Capital West Business Center at 79 Leighton Road in Augusta.

Hold the date:  Highmoor Farm Fruit and Vegetable Growers Field Day July 31, 2013.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                        Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                              491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME  04259         Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

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.

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.

 

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 4 – May 31, 2013

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Strawberries

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 4 – May 31, 2013

For full page print version, please see link at the bottom. Click on photos to enlarge.

WARMER TEMPS SPEED STRAWBERRY DEVELOPMENT

Higher Temps also Likely to Increase Insect and Mite Activity

Situation: Damp weather stretched through most of the week again, but now things are heating up fast, and the sudden change of temperature should hasten fruit ripening. High temperatures may also stress plants, especially those that experienced winter injury, grub feeding, or any other factor that compromised the plants’ ability to take up water. If plants appear to be wilting, dull colored or otherwise stressed, it may be necessary to irrigate if soils have become dry, to help stressed plants prosper through the high temperatures. Early varieties in southern Maine are now beyond full bloom, and are showing green fruit. Later varieties are mostly in bloom, and the bees have been active under the better weather conditions. Fields that were under row covers are starting to show a few ripe fruit and more will be ripening fast over the next few days. Insect activity remains pretty low for the time being, although we are starting to see an increase, which will be enhanced by the higher temperatures.

Gray Mold on Strawberries

Gray Mold on Strawberries, photo by James Dill

Diseases:  The prolonged damp conditions earlier in the week have kept the risk of gray mold infection very high. So, if it has been more than a week since the last fungicide application, or the field has received more than one inch of rain since the last application, it would be best to apply another fungicide spray.

Anthracnose fruit rot is favored by warm temperatures and wet field conditions, a combination many fields will see over the next few days; so consider using a fungicide that will offer control of both gray mold and anthracnose when making your next fungicide application, such as Pristine® or Cabrio®.

Leather rot (Phytopthora cactorum) may also be an issue in fields where standing water has been prevalent this spring. A spray of Aliette®, Agri-Phos® or Phostrol® applied during bloom and fruit development can help prevent leather rot where the risk of this disease is high.

Powdery mildew:  We have not yet seen any significant signs of powdery mildew, but we anticipate it may become more evident soon, because this fungus can proliferate rapidly under warm, humid conditions. Some fungicides sprays for gray mold can also offer good control of powdery mildew, including Topsin-M® and Pristine®

Slime mold:  I have had a report of slime mold from our friends in New Hampshire this week. Slime mold fungi can occur on strawberry plants and mulch when we get very wet, warm weather in the spring or fall. The mold appears as a creamy white or tan colored, jellylike mass growing out of the soil and up onto leaves and flower clusters or just on top of the mulch. The mass is amorphous and may have gray or black fruiting structures covering its surface. The mold dries out to a hard, crusty structure with powdery spores. Slime mold fungi are not parasitic to plants; they just climb them to improve the spread of their spores, but the masses can smother single leaves or fruits and be unsightly. Slime molds disappear when dry weather returns. They do not require any management.

Clipper Damage on Strawberry Plant

Clipped Flower Buds from Strawberry Clipper, photo by David Handley

Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper” is becoming more active as temperatures rise. However, some early blooming varieties have already developed beyond the point where clipper can do significant harm. Most fields had only very light clipper injury in later flowering varieties this week; none of the fields were over the action threshold. Late blooming fields should still be scouted for clipped buds.

Tarnished plant bugs remain fairly scarce this week. We have seen a few adults and some small nymphs in the fields we scouted, but none were over the action threshold. Expect activity to increase as things get drier and warmer.

 

Strawberry Mite Symptoms

Strawberry Mite Symptoms, photo by David Handley

Two-spotted spider mites were found in higher numbers this week, and distributed over a larger area, but all fields were below the action threshold. The extended cool, wet weather likely slowed spider mite development, but we should anticipate that populations will rise under the recent hotter, drier weather.

 

 

 

Spittlebug

Spittlebug, photo by David Handley

Spittlebugs:  Be on the lookout for spittlebug masses in your fields as we approach harvest time. Although we haven’t noted any in fields this week, they may start to appear soon. The frothy spittle masses are found on the leaf stems (petioles), just below the leaflets, usually showing up around bloom. Although spittlebugs don’t pose a significant threat to the plants, the frothy spittle masses create an annoyance for pickers. Spittlebugs overwinter as eggs and the nymphs emerge in late May. The spittle masses may be at the base of the plants, so spread the leaves and inspect the crowns, leaf bases, leaf stems, and flower stems looking for them. The small, yellow-orange nymphs will be under the spittle. If the average number of spittle masses is more than two per square foot, a treatment may be warranted. Spittlebugs tend to be a greater problem in weedy fields. Pesticides currently registered for spittlebug control include Provado®, Thionex®, Danitol® and Brigade®.

Slug on Strawberry

Slug on Strawberry, photo by James Dill

 

Slugs may be a problem in some fields this season. Moist conditions encourage the presence of these mollusks. Slugs usually feed at night, leaving large holes and tunnels in ripening fruit. Baits such as Deadline®  and Sluggo® offer some control of slugs, but should be used prior to fruit ripening. Pay close attention to label instructions and precautions. Baits should also be applied to the fields in mid-September if slugs have been a problem, to reduce egg-laying.

 

Highmoor Farm Fruit and Vegetable Growers Field Day July 31, 2013
Plans are well underway for the Highmoor Farm Field Day to be held on Wednesday, July 31. Growers will have an opportunity to tour the fruit and vegetable research plots at the farm, part of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station, and hear Extension specialists and guest speakers discuss current research on apples and grapes. University of Maine leaders and state legislators will also be on hand to offer updates on programs and legislation effecting farming in Maine. Please join us for the program, farm tours and lunch. More information will be coming soon.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Ave
Monmouth, ME  04259       Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                          1.800.287.0279

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.

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.

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 3 – May 24, 2013

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Strawberries

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 3 – May 24, 2013

For full page print version, please see link at the bottom. Click on photos to enlarge.

COOL, WET WEATHER SLOWS STRAWBERRY DEVELOPMENT

Risk of Fruit Rot Diseases Increased

Situation: A very dry spring has quickly turned into a very wet spring for most farms, as nearly a week of cool, rainy weather has put more than two inches of water on the fields, and slowed plant growth significantly. Plant development has changed very little over the past week, with early varieties in southern Maine now moving into or just beyond full bloom, and later varieties coming into bloom. Fields that were under row covers have green fruit up to an inch in size. So ripe fruit should not be far off, if we see some warmer, sunnier weather soon. Insect activity has also been slowed by the weather, but these conditions create a high risk of fruit rot infections, and fields coming into bloom should be protected with fungicides when conditions permit. 

Wet Strawberry Field

Wet Strawberry Field, photo by David Handley

Diseases:  Bloom is the critical time to protect strawberries from developing gray mold caused by the Botrytis cinerea. The rain of the past few days has made conditions very conducive to fungal sporulation and flower infection. Two to three sprays of fungicide during bloom are often required to protect against gray mold. Fungicide choices for control of gray mold in strawberries include captan/Topsin M® tank mix, Elevate®, Captevate® (a pre-mix of captan and Elevate®), Switch®, Scala® and Pristine®.

Leather rot (Phytopthora cactorum) can be a problem when there is water standing in the fields during bloom and fruit development, especially if the fields were not mulched last fall and the plants are on bare, wet soil. Leather rot should be managed by growing strawberries in well-drained soil and applying straw mulch between the rows to prevent berries from touching the soil and to reduce soil splashing up onto the berries. Foliar sprays of Aliette®, Agri-Phos® or Phostrol® can be applied during bloom and fruit development to prevent leather rot when there is excessive moisture in the field, especially in fields with a history of this problem.

Anthracnose on Strawberry

Anthracnose on Strawberry, photo by North Carolina State University

Anthracnose fruit rot is a potential problem when fruit ripens in fields that are wet from irrigation or rain. This fungus disease is favored by warm, humid conditions and can spread rapidly during rains or when fields are irrigated with overhead sprinklers. In cool seasons, it may appear close to harvest or may not show up at all. Anthracnose fruit rot is identified by black sunken lesions with wet, orange (and sometimes gray) spore masses in them. The fungus can survive and multiply on leaves without visible symptoms, appearing suddenly as a fruit rot when the conditions are right. Fungicides such as Cabrio® and Abound® can provide good control of anthracnose.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew, photo by David Handley

Powdery mildew:  No severe symptoms of powdery mildew have been observed yet, but we’re starting to see some leaf cupping in fields, suggesting that this disease may become a problem when temperatures start to rise. Upward cupping of the leaves and reddish streaking or lesions on the leaf and flower stems are the most obvious symptoms of powdery mildew. White, powdery growth on the undersides of the leaves appears as the disease develops further.

Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper” is becoming active as flower buds emerge. I have found one field with clipper at levels over threshold this week, but most fields were showing very little, if any damage. Early blooming varieties may have developed beyond the point where clipper can do significant harm to buds, but later blooming fields should still be scouted for injury. Clipper is likely to become more active when conditions become a little drier and warmer.   

Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph on Strawberry Blossom

Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph on Strawberry Blossom, photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bugs adults are few and far between this week, which is typical in this kind of weather, but I still have not found any nymphs in blooming fields. It is difficult to find nymphs on wet plants, so we may see activity increase considerably when things dry out. But for now, no fields have been over threshold.  

Cyclamen mites:  We continue to see symptoms of cyclamen mite in strawberry fields this week, including weak growth, crinkled leaves and yellow, pinkish or blackened discoloration. Sprays for these mites must be applied with lots of water to carry the material down into the crowns where the mites reside. Portal®, Thionex® and Kelthane® are registered for control.  

Cyclamen Mite Damage

Cyclamen Mite Damage, photo by David Handley

Two-spotted spider mites were not found over threshold in any fields this week. Cool, wet weather tends to significantly slow spider mite development in strawberry fields, but expect populations to rise as conditions become warmer and drier, and keep scouting.   

White grubs:  We have found white grubs in three different fields this week, most likely the larvae of Asiatic garden beetle or European chafer. These grubs have legs and a dark, swollen rear end. They are found in the soil around the roots of weak plants.   Admire Pro®  can be used to control white grubs and should be applied within two hours of irrigation or rainfall to get the chemical into the root zone. This product has a 14 day pre-harvest interval.  

Spring fertilizer for strawberries
Heavy nitrogen fertilizer applications are not recommended in the springtime because excess vegetative growth at this time will result in a dense leaf canopy that will cover flowers and fruit, and encourage gray mold and two spotted spider mites. In the matted row system, most of the nitrogen fertilizer should be applied following harvest to stimulate new leaf and runner growth. For established beds, only 10-20 pounds of actual nitrogen should be applied in the spring. Calcium nitrate [Ca(NO3)2, 15% N] is a recommended source of nitrogen at this time because it is readily available, not volatile, and also provides calcium, which can help with fruit development.  Boron is another nutrient which can help early spring growth, and is especially important in the pollination and fertilization process that helps determine fruit size and quality. However, excessive amounts of boron can be toxic to strawberry plants, so only one to two pounds of actual boron (B) is recommended per acre during the spring. This is often applied as a foliar spray in a material such as Solubor
® (20% B). While foliar sprays are often an inefficient way to get nutrients to the plants, they are helpful when trying to evenly distribute a small amount of material over a large area.

honey bee on flower

Honey bee on flower

What about pollination?
After a hard winter for bees and lots of rain during bloom, growers are concerned about good pollination in their strawberries. Cultivated strawberry flowers are self-fertile, meaning that they don’t require cross-pollination with other varieties like some other fruit crops, such as apples or blueberries. Some studies have shown that strawberries will produce a good crop in the absence of bees, with pollination being carried out by wind and small, native insects. Other studies have shown an increased fruit quality and size when bees help with pollination, so it is certainly good to have them working in the strawberry fields, but perhaps not essential for this particular crop.

2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Management Guides are available from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Highmoor Farm. This new, updated edition of the guide contains the latest information on management options for small fruit pests as well as cultural information. Cost of the guide is $10.00 plus $2.53 postage for a total of $12.53. To order a guide, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to: Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, atten. Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or pamela.stpeter@maine.edu.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Ave
Monmouth
, ME  04259       Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                          1.800.287.0279

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.

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.

 

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 2 – May 17, 2013

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Strawberries

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 2 – May 17, 2013

For full page print version, please see link at the bottom. Click on photos to enlarge.

Sprayer Calibration Clinic on May 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
Twilight Meeting on May 21, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Pikes Farm to You in Farmington, Maine

STRAWBERRY BLOOM UNDERWAY

Few Insect or Disease Problems, Winter Injury Widespread

Strawberry Frost Injury

Frost Injury to Flowers and Leaves, Photo By David Handley

Situation: A little rain last weekend provided some relief from this very dry spring for most fields.  Frost hit many fields over two to three nights early in the week, and some injury has been noted wherever irrigation wasn’t able to protect the blossoms.   Plants in southern Maine are now showing open primary (king) blossoms on early varieties, while in later varieties buds are still emerging from the crown.  Fields that were under row covers are in full bloom, or just beyond, suggesting that we could see some ripe fruit in just a couple of weeks, weather permitting.  I am still finding winter injury, especially in older fields, where straw and or snow cover was inadequate during the coldest part of the winter.  On the bright side, insect activity remains fairly low in all fields scouted this week, but it is important to keep scouting during the bud emergence through bloom stages, because this is when the plants are most susceptible to clipper and tarnished plant bug.  Bloom is also the most critical stage for preventing infestation by Botrytis spores, which cause gray mold.

Sprayer Calibration Clinic and Twilight Meeting
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association will hold a sprayer calibration clinic for airblast sprayers at David Pike’s Farm to You in Farmington on Tuesday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m. George Hamilton with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension will demonstrate new tools for making sure your sprayer is delivering the correct rate of pesticides to your crops. Having a sprayer properly calibrated will improve the effectiveness of your sprays, and can save you money by reducing the amount of pesticide used and reducing crop losses due to pests. Participants will receive two pesticide applicator recertification credits. The calibration clinic will be followed at 5:00 p.m. by a tour of David Pike’s strawberry and vegetable fields. David has been a leader in innovative strawberry production techniques, including raised beds, plastic mulch, fertigation, fall cropping, and season extension. There will be some new low tunnel technology on display, as well as replant experiments and new varieties on trial. One pesticide applicator recertification will be awarded for the meeting. The location is 115 Mount View Road. (corner of Routes 2 & 4 and the Whittier Road) in Farmington, ME 04938. There will be signs posted. The farm phone number is 207.778.2187. Cost for the clinic is free and no registration is required. Hold the date!

Drip Irrigation Workshop
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Sherman Farm, 2679 East Conway Road, Center Conway, NH 03813. The farm phone number is 603.939.2412.

The purpose of this meeting is to review what drip irrigation options and strategies vegetable and fruit growers should be considering for the coming growing season.  Trevor Hardy, of Brookdale Fruit Farm and George Hamilton, UNH Cooperative Extension will present a hands-on demonstration on setting up a drip irrigation system and describe the various components of a system, including set ups for high tunnels.  Toro Irrigation Representative Bill Wolfram will also be present.  The meeting will begin at 3:00 p.m. and will run until around 6:00 p.m.

For more information contact:

Olivia Saunders, UNH Extension Field Specialist
603.447.3834, e-mail: olivia.saunders@unh.edu, OR

George Hamilton, UNH Extension Field Specialist,
603.641.6060, email: george.hamilton@unh.edu.

2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Management Guides are now available at Highmoor Farm. This new, updated edition of the guide contains the latest information on management options for small fruit pests as well as cultural information. Cost of the guide is $10.00 plus $2.53 postage for a total of $12.53. To order a guide, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to: Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, attention Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or pamela.stpeter@maine.edu.

Clipper Injury

Clipper Injury, Photo by David Handley

Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper” should now be coming active as flower buds emerge. We have not found clipper at levels over threshold in any fields scouted to date, but it is important to keep a sharp lookout for clipped buds now, especially along wooded borders of the field.  If the average number of clipped buds exceeds 1.2 per two feet of row, or if live clippers are being found, control measures are recommended.

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph

First Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph, photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bug adults are being reported in apple orchards in southern Maine, but we have not yet found any nymphs in the strawberry fields we have scouted. Strawberries are preferred hosts at this time of year, so we should expect to start seeing both adults and nymphs soon. To scout for the nymphs shake 30 flower clusters (six clusters in five different locations) over a plate. If four or more of the clusters out of the 30 sampled have any nymphs, control measures should be taken. Be on the alert and scout your fields as soon as blossoms start to open.

Cyclamen mites:  We have found symptoms of cyclamen mites in several plantings this spring. Symptoms include weak growth, crinkled leaves and yellow, pinkish or blackened discoloration. Cyclamen mites are too small to be seen without magnification and reside in the crown of the strawberry plant feeding on the developing leaves and flower buds. Miticides must be applied in lots of water to be sure that the material is carried down into the crowns where the mites reside.

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites, Photo by David Handley

Two-spotted spider mites have been found exceeding the management threshold at one southern location this week, in a field that was under row covers. This is often where we first find mite problems. Expect mite problems to increase as the temperature increases, especially under dry conditions.

White grubs:  We have had several reports of white grub infestations in fields this spring. Weak plant growth may be the result of grubs feeding on roots. These grubs are the larvae of beetles, including European chafer and Asiatic garden beetle. The grubs have legs and a swollen anterior (rear end). The grubs can be found by pulling up weak plants and sifting through the soil that surrounded the roots.   Controlling white grubs when they are established in a field is difficult. Admire Pro® is labeled for control of white grubs and should be applied within two hours of irrigation or rainfall to get the chemical into the root zone. There is still time to apply nematodes to control the grubs. (Optimal timing is about mid-May.) Two species of nematodes appear to offer the best control. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Hb) is the best candidate when the soil temperature is above 60 degrees (‘J-3 Max Hb’ from The Green Spot Ltd., ‘GrubStake Hb’ from the Integrated Biocontrol Network, ‘Larvanem’ from Koppert Biological Systems.

Diseases:  Just a reminder that bloom is the critical time to protect strawberries from developing gray mold caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea. Two to three sprays of fungicide during bloom are typically required to provide good protection against this disease. Any moisture, including irrigation, fog, or even pesticide sprays can stimulate Botrytis spores to germinate.  Fruit infections take place almost exclusively through the flowers, so gray mold control efforts must be focused on the bloom period.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                       Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Ave
Monmouth, ME  04259       Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                          1.800.287.0279

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 these programs should contact Pam St. Peter at 207.933.2100 or TDD 1.800.287.8957 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.

 

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 1 – May 9, 2013

Monday, May 13th, 2013

StrawberriesStrawberry IPM Newsletter No. 1 – May 9, 2013

For full page print version, please see link at the bottom. Click on photos to enlarge.

Sprayer Calibration Clinic on May 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
Twilight Meeting on May 21, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Pikes Farm to You in Farmington, Maine

2013 STRAWBERRY PEST MANAGEMENT SEASON BEGINS

Winter Injury Worries

Situation: What seemed to start as a relatively normal spring has now become a very dry spring indeed, with most areas in New England significantly behind on rainfall. While this has helped growers to get on to fields early to plant, established plantings of strawberries could be suffering from drought stress.  Dry conditions can also reduce nutrient uptake, resulting in deficiencies, most notably calcium. In southern locations, flower buds are now emerging from crowns in plantings that were mulched over the winter. Plantings that were not mulched are a little further advanced, and plantings that were under row covers are coming into bloom. Frost protection becomes a priority now, and irrigation should be set up to provide frost protection for buds and flowers on any night when temperatures drop below freezing.  Bear in mind that fields that are irrigated for frost repeatedly during bloom face an increased risk of bacterial angular leaf spot.

Frost Injury

Frost Injury, photo by David Handley

Winter injury is common in fields this spring, especially in plantings that either were not mulched or mulched late in the winter due to trouble getting onto the fields in the fall. Frost heaving is also apparent in fields with heavier soils, which injures plant roots and inhibits water and nutrient uptake.  Injured plants appear weakened, with small, dull colored leaves, and crowns that may be pushed out of the soil. Cutting into the crowns will reveal dark brown discoloration in the internal tissue. Helping plantings recover from winter injury involves compensating for the damaged vascular system.  Make sure the plants get plenty of water, especially in this dry period, and it may help to apply extra nutrients to encourage root growth and recovery, including nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. While we do not recommend heavy nitrogen fertilizer applications in the spring, up to 20 pounds of actual N (e.g. 125 lb. calcium nitrate) may improve early spring growth.

Sprayer Calibration Clinic & Twilight Meeting
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association will hold a sprayer calibration clinic for airblast sprayers at David Pike’s Farm to You in Farmington on Tuesday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m. George Hamilton with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension will demonstrate new tools for making sure your sprayer is delivering the correct rate of pesticides to your crops. Having a sprayer properly calibrated will improve the effectiveness of your sprays, and can save you money by reducing the amount of pesticide used and reducing crop losses due to pests. Participants will receive two pesticide applicator re-certification credits.

The calibration clinic will be followed at 5:00 p.m. by a tour of David Pike’s strawberry and vegetable fields. David has been a leader in innovative strawberry production techniques, including raised beds, plastic mulch, fertigation, fall cropping, and season extension. There will be some new low tunnel technology on display, as well as replant experiments and new varieties on trial. One pesticide applicator re-certification credits will be awarded for the meeting. Hold the date! We’ll give driving directions next week.

2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Management Guides are now available at Highmoor Farm. This new, updated edition of the guide contains the latest information on management options for small fruit pests as well as cultural information. Cost of the guide is $10.00 plus $2.53 postage for a total of $12.53. Copies of the 2012-2013 New England Vegetable Management Guide with color pictures of the important pests and diseases are also available at Highmoor Farm. Cost of the guide is $25.00 plus $3.43 postage for a total of $28.43.

To order the guides, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to: Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, attention Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or pamela.stpeter@maine.edu.

Members of the Maine Vegetable & Small Fruit Growers Association (MVSFGA) or the New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association receive free copies of the guides. For MVSFGA membership information, contact Bill Jordan at 799.1040.

Scouting
We will start scouting strawberry fields for major insect pests in earnest next week, including volunteer farms, in North Berwick, Wells, Cape Elizabeth, Poland Spring, New Gloucester, Dresden, Monmouth, Wayne, and Farmington, and will be reporting our findings through this newsletter on a weekly basis until harvest time. You can also get quick access to this information through the Highmoor Farm blog or the Pest Management web page.  If you would prefer to receive this message via e-mail, please give us a call at 933.2100 or send an e-mail message to: pamela.stpeter@maine.edu.

The best way to manage strawberry pests is to scout your own fields regularly and often. You should start scouting regularly as soon as flower buds emerge from the crown. You should be able to identify the major pests and their damage, and be able to determine if control measures are necessary. To properly scout your fields you may want a copy of the Strawberry Production Guide for the Northeast, Midwest and Eastern Canada. This contains detailed information on strawberry pest identification and monitoring, and also provides information on all other aspects of strawberry production. It may be purchased for $45.00 per copy from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog.  You should also have a copy of the 2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide, which contains the latest information on management  options for the major strawberry pests as well as scouting information.

Clipper Beetle on Strawberry Bud

Clipper Beetle on Strawberry Bud, photo by James Dill

Strawberry bud weevil or “clipper” will soon be active as flower buds begin to emerge. The clipper is a small weevil, which girdles strawberry flower buds, causing them to dry up and fall off the flower stalk.  Scout for damage by counting the number of clipped buds in two feet of row length at five different locations in a field. If the average number of clipped buds per two-foot sample exceeds 1.2, or if live clippers are found, control measures are recommended. Damage is usually first noticed at the edges of the field. Border sprays may be effective in keeping this insect from becoming a problem in larger fields. Fields with a history of clipper problems will typically exceed threshold nearly every year.  Insecticide options for clipper include Lorsban®, Brigade®, Sevin® and PyGanic®.

Tarnished Plant Bug Adult

Tarnished Plant Bug Adult, photo by David Handley

Tarnished plant bugs adults have been found in southern Maine, indicating that they will soon be laying eggs. Strawberries are one of their preferred hosts at this time of year. Once the eggs start to hatch, we’ll find the nymphs feeding in the flowers.  The nymphs are small, active, yellow-green insects.  It is important to scout for them regularly, as they can appear very quickly in warm weather. Tarnished plant bugs feed on the open strawberry flowers, causing the berries to have seedy ends. To scout for the nymphs shake 30 flower clusters (six clusters in five different locations) over a plate. If four or more of the clusters out of the 30 sampled have any nymphs, control measures should be taken. Be on the alert and scout your fields now!  Insecticide options for tarnished plant bug include malathion, Brigade®, Danitol®, Thionex® and PyGanic®.

Cyclamen Mite Damage

Cyclamen Mite Damage, photo by David Handley

Cyclamen mites:  Plants showing weak growth and yellow, pinkish or blackened, crinkled leaves may be infested with cyclamen mite. Cyclamen mites are very small, smaller than spider mites, and reside in the crown of the strawberry plant feeding on the developing leaves and flower buds. They are very hard to see, even with magnification. Infested plants have shrunken distorted leaves and flower stalks, and produce few, if any, marketable fruit. Miticides such as Thionex® or Kelthane® and Temprano® can be effective, but must be applied in lots of water to be sure that the material is carried down into the crowns where these mites reside.

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites, photo by David Handley

Two-spotted spider mites have not yet been a problem this spring, but growers with plants under row covers should be alert. This is often where we first find mite problems. Spider mites will reproduce rapidly when warmer weather arrives, so it is important to scout for them regularly. Spider mites feed on the undersides of strawberry leaves, rasping the plant tissue and sucking the sap. Infested leaves will develop yellow flecking and a bronzed appearance. The plants become weakened and stunted. Fields that have had excessive nitrogen fertilizer and/or row covers tend to be most susceptible to mite injury. To scout for mites, collect 60 leaves from various locations in the field and examine the undersides for the presence of mites.  Mites are very small – you may need a hand lens to see them.  Chemical control options for two-spotted spider mites include Acramite®, Savey®, Zeal®, Vendex®, Oberon®, Brigade®, Danitol®, Thionex® and JMS Stylet oil ® (oils will cause plant injury if used in combination with captan or within 14 days of an application of sulfur).

Strawberry Root Weevil Grub

Strawberry Root Weevil Grub, photo by David Handley

Root weevil management
Fields that were infested with root weevils last summer should be inspected for grubs this spring. Infested plants appear week and stunted, usually in somewhat circular patches in a field. Digging under the plants will reveal small (1/4”-1/2”) crescent-shaped legless grubs. Typically, the grubs begin to pupate when the plants are in bloom. A soil drench of Platinum® (thiamethoxam) insecticide during the spring and/or fall when the grubs are active in the soil can provide control. However, Platinum® has a 50 day pre-harvest interval, so it is too late for applications in most fruiting fields this year.  Platinum® may also be used as a pre-plant or planting treatment for root weevils.  It is not too late to put on an application of nematodes to control the grubs (optimal timing is about mid-May). Two species of nematodes appear to offer the best control of root weevil grubs. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (Hb) appears to be the best candidate for control of root weevils when the soil temperature is above 60 degrees (‘J-3 Max Hb’ from The Green Spot Ltd., ‘GrubStake Hb’ from the Integrated Biocontrol Network, ‘Larvanem’ from Koppert Biological Systems).

Nematodes are living organisms and they can be killed if they are misapplied. Order nematodes ahead of time and be ready to apply them through a sprayer or irrigation soon after they arrive. Refrigerate them if you can not apply right away. Do not apply nematodes using a sprayer with a piston pump. Use clean equipment, removing all screens finer than 50-mesh. Apply nematodes in early morning or evening in a high volume of water to already moist soil, pre-irrigating if needed. Apply another ¼ inch of irrigation after application to wash them onto and into the soil. Researchers and suppliers recommended 250 (if banded in the row) to 500 million per acre, at a cost of $100-$200 per acre depending on volume and source. Nematodes tend to work best in heavily infested fields. Strawberry plants can recover their vigor remarkably well if crown feeding has not occurred and diseases haven’t taken over the roots.

Once the adults become active in July, bifenthrin (Brigade®) will provide some control if used at the highest labeled rates. The best timing for this spray is at night during the peak feeding activity of adults, before they start laying eggs, or about the time harvest ends.

White Grub

White Grub, Photo by David Handley

White grubs:  Weak growth noted in fields this spring may also be the result of white grubs feeding on the roots of newer plantings. These grubs are the larvae of beetles, including European chafer and Asiatic garden beetle. They differ from the larvae of black vine weevil and strawberry root weevil in that they have legs and a swollen anterior (rear end), and they tend to be larger. Their feeding weakens the plants by reducing the number of roots. The grubs can be found by pulling up weak plants and sifting through the soil that surrounded the roots.   Controlling white grubs once they have become established in a field can be difficult. These tend to be more of a problem in new fields that have been planted following a grass rotation crop, because the adults prefer to lay their eggs in sod. Admire Pro®  and Platinum® insecticides are labeled for control of white grubs and should be applied within two hours of irrigation or rainfall to be sure the chemical gets into the root zone. Admire Pro® requires a 14 day to harvest interval, while Platinum® requires a 50 day pre-harvest interval.

Gray Mold on Strawberries

Gray Mold on Strawberries, photo by James Dill

Diseases:  Bloom is a critical time to protect strawberry fruit against gray mold caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, especially when conditions have been damp. Two to three sprays of fungicide during bloom are typically required to provide good protection against this disease. If you tank mix insecticides and fungicides, avoid spraying when bees are active. Botrytis cinerea overwinters on old leaves and plant debris. Fruit infections take place almost exclusively through the flowers, so gray mold control efforts must be focused on the bloom period.  If the bloom period is dry and/or good fungicide coverage is maintained, incidence of gray mold at harvest should be low.

There are several excellent fungicide choices for control of gray mold in strawberries. Elevate® (fenhexamid) has good to excellent activity against Botrytis. Captevate® is a pre-mix of captan and fenhexamid and has a broader spectrum of activity than Elevate® alone. Switch® (cyprodinil and fludioxonil), Scala® (pyramethanil) and Pristine® (pyraclostrobin and boscalid) are also excellent products for gray mold control.  Topsin M® + captan is also a good fungicide combination, but remember that captan is strictly a protectant and can be washed off by rain or irrigation water. Thiram is similarly effective but also susceptible to wash-off.

The fungicides Cabrio® (pyraclostrobin) and Abound® (azoxystrobin) are NOT suitable for gray mold control, but are effective against anthracnose and other fruit rot and leaf spot diseases. All fungicides mentioned above have a 0-day pre-harvest interval, except Topsin M® (1 day) and thiram (3 days). Remember to alternate fungicides with different modes of action for resistance management purposes.

Red stele root rot
Although fall and early spring conditions were not especially conducive to red stele development, damp conditions this spring should make us alert for this root rot if any fields appear to be weak, stunted or dying. To diagnose red stele, pull up a few plants that look weak and scrape the roots of these plants to see if the center of the root, known as the stele, is rusty red in color, instead of the normal white. The red color would indicate an infection.  Red stele is caused by Phytophthora fragariae, a soil pathogen that infects roots when soils are wet with temperatures around 50°F. The pathogen grows into the roots causing the plants to become weak, stunted and to eventually die. Symptoms are most evident in the spring, and can be mistaken for winter injury. Ridomil Gold®, Alliette® or Phostrol® are fungicides that can be applied in the late fall or early spring for control of red stele.  Many varieties have some level of resistance to the disease, but the most effective management strategy is to plant only into well-drained soils, and/or plant onto raised beds.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew, photo by David Handley

Powdery mildew:  This fungus disease may first show up as purple or red blotches on the leaf petioles and flower stems in strawberry fields. Most of us are more familiar with the later symptoms of upward curling of the leaves and white, powdery growth on the undersides of the leaves. Check your fields for pinkish purple leaf and flower stem lesions as new leaves emerge. Pristine®, Cabrio®, Topsin-M®, captan, Procure®, Torino® and JMS Stylet oil® are presently registered to control powdery mildew.

 

Angular Leaf Spot

Bacterial Angular Leaf Spot, Photo by David Handley

Angular leaf spot is a bacterial disease that is characterized by translucent leaf spots that may turn yellow and eventually black. The symptoms tend to start on the lower leaves but may move upwards as bacterial spores are splashed up by rain or irrigation water. Infection of the calyxes may result in a blackening of the berry stems and caps, reducing their marketability. Bacterial angular leaf spot is favored by extended cool, wet weather and nights with temperatures close to freezing. Frequent irrigation for frost protection can greatly encourage the development and spread of the disease, as will extended cool, damp weather. Susceptibility to this disease appears to vary significantly between varieties. The copper containing material Kocide®, can reduce the spread of this disease. Start spray applications before bloom to prevent multiplication of the bacteria on the leaves before they jump to the berry caps. Application of copper sprays after bloom can result in fruit injury and is not recommended. Hydrogen dioxide (OxiDate®) may also have some activity against angular leaf spot when used on strawberries as part of a gray mold management program.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                                   Pest Management
P.O. Box 179                                         491 College Ave
Monmouth, ME  04259                    Orono, ME  04473
207.933.2100                                      1.800.287.0279

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.

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.

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 6 – July 5, 2012

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Strawberries

For full page print version, please see link at the bottom.  Click on photos to enlarge.

RENOVATION AND WEED MANAGEMENT ISSUE

Spotted Wing Drosophila, White Grubs Threaten Berries this Summer

The open winter of 2011-2012 with its lack of snow cover raised fears of winter injury in strawberry beds this spring.  The early warm up also led to a very early bloom and an increased risk of frost injury.  For most growers, however, relatively mild winter temperatures and good mulch cover prevented widespread winter injury, and well-timed irrigation prevented significant frost damage.  It seemed everything was in place for a very early season, when it started to rain, and rain and rain.  This slowed strawberry development considerably and raised concern about preventing fruit rots, such as gray mold (Botrytis) and leather rot (Phytophthora).  Fungicide sprays through the wet period provided good protection in most fields, as gray mold was kept to a minimum in spite of all the moisture.  The harvest season was pushed back to just a few days ahead of normal for most fields, but the crop was not as heavy as the bloom led us to believe, and the season ended up being fairly short.  As fruit ripened we saw some plants showing signs of stress and, depending upon which field we were in, the problems were related to Phytophthora crown rot, winter injury, black root rot, and/or white grubs.

Don’t forget about your strawberries after harvest.  Follow the recommended renovation steps listed below as soon after harvest as possible, and continue to scout for and manage disease, insect and weed problems as they arise.  Some of the more common issues to be alert for during the summer are listed below.

DISEASES:  Foliar diseases should be monitored in your fields by regularly examining leaves.  All of the common leaf diseases were present in fields this spring and we should expect that they will continue to be a problem through the summer.  The most common summer diseases are powdery mildew, leaf spot and leaf scorch.  Fungicides available for these diseases include captan, Topsin-M®, Cabrio®, Pristine® and Abound®.  See the New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide for detailed descriptions of these diseases and their management.

Leaf Spot on Strawberry Plant

Leaf Spot, photo by David Handley

Black root rot is a disease complex which can be brought on by a combination of problems, including nematodes, soil fungi (Rhizoctonia, Pythium), herbicide carryover, and soil compaction.  Plants become weak and may wilt and die.  Roots on affected plants are black and poorly developed.  This tends to be a problem in fields that have been in strawberries constantly for many seasons, and in fields that are under stress in other ways, such as winter injury.  Rotating fields to crops other than strawberries for at least three years is an important management strategy for black root rot.  Improving soil drainage and breaking up hardpans in the soil may also help.  Recent studies suggest that pre-plant root dips with azoxystrobin (Abound®) may also reduce incidence of black root rot in some fields.

INSECTS:  If black vine weevils or strawberry root weevils are a problem in a strawberry field that you would like to carry over, bifenthrin (Brigade®) can be applied when adult feeding is noticed (usually until mid-late July).  Look for notching along the leaf edges and the presence of the black or brown snout beetles.  Applications should be made at night when these insects are active, and the highest rate of the insecticide should be used.  For control of the grubs a soil drench of Platinum® (thiamethoxam) insecticide should be applied during the fall and/or early spring when the grubs are active in the soil.  This product has a 50 day pre-harvest interval and may also be used as a pre-plant or planting treatment for root weevils.  Parasitic nematodes such as Heterorhabditis bacteriophora or Steinernema feltiae can also be applied to provide control of root weevil grubs in late August.  Nematodes require specialized handling and application.  Contact us or talk with one of the suppliers for more details.  See the New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide for sources.

Black Vine Weevil

Black Vine Weevil, photo by David Handley

White grubs have been a problem in many fields this spring/summer.  The grubs may be the larvae of several species of scarab beetles, including June beetles, rose chafers, Japanese beetles, Asiatic garden beetles and European chafers.  The beetles lay their eggs in June and July and the grubs feed on the roots of strawberries from July through mid September.  Affected plants will be stunted and wilted and may die during dry periods.  Pulling up plants reveals that roots have been chewed off about an inch below the soil line.  Sifting through the soil below the plants may reveal the whitish crescent-shaped grubs which can range in size from 3/8 inch to almost 1 ½ inches long, with six legs near the head and a swollen rear-end.  The two most effective periods to treat plantings for grubs are in the spring prior to when they pupate (May) and in the late summer when the next generation is actively feeding (late August).  Materials should be applied with plenty of water to moist soil to be sure they reach the root zone.  Materials currently registered for control of grubs include Platinum® and Admire®.  Parasitic nematodes can also provide control of grubs and should be applied with similar timing.  Nematodes are very sensitive to ultraviolet light and dehydration and must be applied with lots of water.  See the New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide for sources of parasitic nematodes.

White Grub

White Grub, Photo by David Handley

Strawberry rootworm (not root weevil) is a small (1/8″) dark brown to black beetle which feeds on strawberry foliage, causing it to look skeletonized.  The small larvae feed on strawberry roots, further weakening the plant.  Adult feeding damage on the leaves usually occurs in late July through August.  Heavy rootworm feeding weakens strawberry plants so control is warranted when injury is noticed.

Strawberry Rootworm Beetle

Keep a lookout for potato leafhoppers, which can weaken strawberry plants and spread disease.  The potato leafhopper does not overwinter inMaine, but must fly in from southern states.  These small, bullet-shaped insects feed on plant sap from the undersides of leaves, causing the leaves to become curled, stunted and yellow-streaked.  Symptoms are often first noticed in new strawberry plantings, but leafhoppers will also infest older plantings and a variety of vegetables, flowers and fruit crops.  To scout for leafhoppers, brush the leaves of the plants with your hand.  The small, whitish adults can be seen flying off the plant.  Examine the underside of some injured leaves.  Look for small, light green leafhopper nymphs.  They are about 1/16 inch long.  When touched, they will crawl sideways in a crab-like manner.  Controls for potato leafhoppers include malathion, carbaryl or Provado®.

Potato Leafhopper

Potato Leafhopper, photo by New York State Agricultural Experiment Station

hopperburn1

MITES:  Two-spotted spider mites can become problems during the summer.  Continue to take leaf samples for spider mites after renovation.  If more than 25% of a 60-leaf sample has mites, controls should be applied.  Summer is an ideal time to use predatory mites to control pest mites, because they prefer warm temperatures, and there is less chance of an insecticide spray that might kill them.  Amblyseius fallacis can provide good control of two-spotted spider mites when they are released at a rate of about 10,000 mites per acre.  Predator mite releases should only be made after a spider mite infestation has been found in the field.  Releasing predators into a clean field will often result in them dying, due to a lack of food.  See the New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide for sources of predatory mites.

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites, photo by David Handley

Cyclamen mites:  Plants showing weak growth and yellow, crinkled leaves may be infested with cyclamen mite.  Cyclamen mites are very small and reside down in the crown of the strawberry plant feeding on the developing leaves.  They are very hard to see, even with magnification.  Miticides such as Thionex®, Kelthane® or Portal® can be effective, but must be applied with lots of water to be sure that the material is carried down into the crowns.  If you suspect you have this problem, give us a call.

Cyclamen Mite Damage

Cyclamen Mite Damage on Strawberry Plant, photo by David Handley

WEEDS:  Weeds can become a big problem during the summer because they are often forgotten among all the other demands on our time and because of limited control options.  However, the importance of good weed management should not be underestimated.  Keeping weeds under control this summer will prevent future infestations.  Here’s a summary of weed control options for strawberries:

1.  Cultivation:  Following renovation, cultivation between strawberry rows can provide effective temporary control of annual weeds.  Several types of cultivators are available which will work well in strawberry beds.  Cultivators can also be used to help sweep runners into the plant rows.

2.  DCPA (Dacthal®):  A pre-emergent herbicide used in the early spring, late fall or after renovation.  It offers good, short-term control of some annual broadleaf weeds and grasses.  It is weak on ragweed, galinsoga, smartweed, shepherd’s purse and mustard.  Its action will be improved if worked into the soil by irrigation or light cultivation, and it tends to work best in lighter, warmer soils.  This may be used as an alternative to terbacil or napropamide when there is a high risk of plant injury from those products.

3.  Napropamide (Devrinol®):  A pre-emergent herbicide which provides good control of annual grasses, volunteer grains and some broadleaf weeds.  It is typically applied just before mulching in the fall.  Split applications have become popular due to the loss of other pre-emergent herbicides, e.g. half maximum rate application after renovation or in late summer after desired daughter plants have rooted, and a second half rate application once the strawberry plants are dormant.  Napropamide should be activated by irrigation, rainfall or light cultivation within 24 hours of application.  Repeated long-term use of this material, i.e. with no crop rotation, may eventually result in poor daughter plant establishment, due to rooting inhibition.

4.  Terbacil (Sinbar®):  An effective pre-emergent herbicide with some post-emergent activity, which should be applied at renovation time – after mowing and tilling the beds, but before new growth begins.  A second application can be made in late fall, after the plants are dormant.  No more than 6 oz. may be applied in a single application, and no more than 8 oz. may be applied in one season.  An example of one season’s use could be 5 oz. applied at renovation and 3 oz. applied in the late fall, the latter in addition to napropamide or DCPA.  Terbacil can cause injury to strawberry plants.  It is important to determine appropriate rates for each location.

5.  Sethoxydim (Poast®):  A post-emergent herbicide for control of actively growing grasses. It will not control broadleaf weeds.  It should not be applied when grasses are under stress, e.g. drought, or on unusually hot, humid days.  Do not use sethoxydim within six weeks of a terbacil (Sinbar®) application to avoid leaf injury.  Sethoxydim should be used in combination with a crop oil concentrate.  Do not tank mix with 2, 4-D.

6.  Clethodim (Arrow®, Prism®, Select®):  A post-emergent herbicide, similar in activity to Poast®, for control of actively growing grasses. It will not control broadleaf weeds.  It should not be applied when grasses are under stress, e.g. drought, or on unusually hot, humid days.  Clethodim should be used in combination with a crop oil concentrate.

7.  Paraquat (Gramoxone Inteon®):  A contact herbicide for post-emergent control of most annual weeds and suppression of many perennial weeds.  Paraquat will injure or kill strawberries, so applications are made between rows only, with a sprayer shielded to protect the strawberries.  It should be used in combination with a nonionic surfactant.  Paraquat should not be applied within 21 days of harvest or more than three times in one season.

8.  Pelargonic Acid (Scythe®):  A contact herbicide for post-emergent control of most annual weeds and suppression of many perennial weeds.  Scythe® will injure or kill strawberries, so applications are made between rows only, with a sprayer shielded to protect the strawberries.  This product has a relatively low toxicity and no residual soil activity.  It has a strong, unpleasant odor.

9.  2,4-D Amine (Formula 40®, Amine 4):  A post-emergent herbicide effective on most broadleaf perennial weeds.  It will not control grasses, nor offer any pre-emergent control.  2,4-D should be applied immediately after harvest is complete if emerged broadleaf weeds are a problem.  After application, the bed should be left undisturbed for three to five days, before mowing the leaves off the plants.  This allows time for the material to be taken in by the weeds.  This material can also be used when the plants are dormant (late fall or early spring) to control winter annuals and biennials.  Such applications have been of minimal benefit in northern New England, and sometimes result in injury to the strawberries.  Do not tank mix 2,4-D with sethoxydim (Poast®).

10.  Flumloxazin (Chateau®):  A pre-emergent herbicide for control of broadleaf weeds, including dandelion and shepherd’s purse.  For use in the fall when plants are dormant for control of weeds the following spring.

11.  Pendimethalin (Prowl H20®):  A pre-emergent herbicide that may be applied as a band with a shielded sprayer between the rows of strawberries.  No weed control will be provided within the plant rows, and contact of this product on the strawberry plants will cause injury.  May not be applied within 35 days of harvest.

The use of herbicides alone rarely gives complete weed control. Some hand weeding will be necessary.  To provide good weed control throughout the life of a strawberry bed, growers should concentrate on crop rotation and good pre-plant weed control.

Strawberry Bed Renovation Review

Bed renovation should begin as soon after harvest as possible.  The earlier the beds get renovated, the more time runner plants have to develop, which means larger crowns and more flower buds for next year.  Early renovation also improves weed management by tilling in many weeds before they go to seed, and can help with insect and foliar disease control by interfering with life cycles at a critical stage of development.  The first step in the bed renovation process is to determine which beds should be carried over for another year and which should be plowed down and put into a crop rotation.  Beds that did not suffer much from winter injury had good production and a good plant stand with no major weed, insect or disease problems should be carried over for another year.  Beds that do not meet these criteria should be plowed down and seeded to a suitable cover crop to reduce weed, insect and disease problems that have developed, and to increase soil organic matter content.  Ideally, beds that are plowed down should be rotated out of strawberries for at least three years.  If properly managed, crop rotation will greatly reduce pest problems and improve the vigor and longevity of strawberry beds without the need for soil fumigation.

Renovating a strawberry bed is basically a thinning process to promote healthy new growth that can support a good crop next spring.  While some parts of the following renovation scheme may need to be modified for individual situations, all beds should undergo the following steps once harvest is complete.

1.  Broadleaf weed control:  If perennial broadleaf weeds such as dandelion, shepherd’s purse, daisy or goldenrod are a problem and/or a high population of annual broadleaf weeds such as lambsquarters, sorrel or pigweed are present, hand-pull as many as possible, especially within the plant rows, and/or apply 2,4-D amine (Formula 40®).

2.  Leaf mowing:  Four to five days following the 2,4-D application (or immediately if 2,4-D was not applied) mow off the leaves of the strawberries about 1 ½ inches above the crowns.  If the planting is weak, it is recommended that this step of the renovation process be skipped.

Mowing Strawberry Leaves

Mowing Strawberry Leaves, photo by David Handley

3.  Fertilization:  Apply 40 to 60 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre (use the higher rate on sandy soils and fields where growth has been weak).  Phosphorus and potassium applications should be made according to soil test recommendations.  Soil testing kits and information are available from your county Cooperative Extension office.

4.  Plant thinning:  For the single matted row system, strawberry plant rows should not be any wider than 24 inches.  After mowing off the leaves, till the sides of the rows to narrow the beds back to a width of 12 to 18 inches.  Use the wider setting for varieties that tend to throw few runners or any fields experiencing drought stress.   Set the tiller so that it incorporates the mowed leaves and spreads about one inch of soil over the remaining crowns at the same time.  This will reduce leaf disease and mite problems, and help stimulate new root growth on the remaining plants.

5.  Pre-emergent weed control:  To control annual weeds, apply terbacil (Sinbar® 80WP) according to label directions (2 to 6 oz. per acre).  Be sure to follow all label precautions.  To avoid plant injury, do not use terbacil if you do not intend to mow off the leaves.   Napropamide (Devrinol®) or DCPA (Dacthal®) may be used as an alternative to terbacil at this time, as described below.  If you are not using herbicides, regular cultivation, before weeds are more than 2” tall, will be needed throughout the summer.

6.  Subsoiling:  Soil compaction caused by tractor and picker traffic in the field can cause soil drainage problems and interfere with good root development.  Using a subsoiling blade between the rows will break up compacted layers of soil and improve water infiltration.  Subsoiling is best done late in the renovation sequence to prevent interference from straw and crop residues.

7.  Irrigation:  To encourage rapid plant growth and get the most out of fertilizers and herbicides, irrigate the beds regularly.  Strawberries will grow best if they receive 1 ½ inches of water per week during the growing season.

Strawberry Irrigation

Strawberry Irrigation, photo by David Handley

Don’t forget your plants once these renovation steps are completed.  Check the strawberry fields regularly during the summer for pest problems.  Finding and managing problems early can prevent major problems next spring.  Pay close attention to the following items:

NUTRITION:  Following the application of 40 to 60 pounds of actual nitrogen at renovation, another 20 pounds of nitrogen should be applied in mid- to late-August to stimulate flower bud development.  One way to determine the nutrient status of strawberry plants during the summer is to have a leaf tissue analysis done.  Tissue analysis offers a view of what is happening within the plant, and can spot any nutrient deficiencies.  In combination with regular soil tests, tissue analysis will provide a complete picture of a field’s fertilizer needs.  For more information about tissue analysis contact:  Analytical Lab, 5722 Deering Hall, Rm. 407, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5722, telephone: 581.2945.

Sidedressed Strawberry Planting

Sidedressed Strawberry Planting, photo by David Handley

 

Pest Management for Day-Neutral Strawberries

Most of the important pests that damage June-bearing varieties can be as much or more of a problem on day-neutral types.  Because day-neutral strawberries will have buds, flowers and fruit all occurring at the same time, it is critical to pay close attention to the required number of days to harvest after a pesticide application, to be sure you can safely harvest ripe fruit while still protecting buds and blossoms.  Some of the more important pests are listed below, along with currently recommended pesticides and days to harvest as stated on current labels.

Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) is a new pest which is likely to be a concern for day neutral strawberries, fall raspberries and blueberries.  This is a small fruit fly, similar to the type that fly around the over-ripe bananas in your kitchen.  However, this species will lay its eggs on fruit before it ripens, resulting in fruit that is contaminated with small white maggots just as it is ready to pick.  As a result, the fruit quickly rots and has no shelf life.  This insect recently came into the U.S.from northern Asia, and caused problems with many berry crops up the east coast last year.  It can complete a generation in under two weeks, with each adult female laying hundreds of eggs.  Therefore, millions of flies can be present soon after the introduction of just a few into a field.  This makes them very difficult to control, and frequently repeated insecticide sprays (3 to 5 times per week) may be needed to prevent infestations once the insect is present in a field.  It is likely that spotted winged drosophila can successfully overwinter here, although it may not build up to damaging levels until late in the summer.  We have set out monitoring traps for spotted winged drosophila in fruit plantings around the state to determine the activity of this pest in Maine.  However, these traps are unlikely to provide early warning, i.e. when we find them in a trap they are probably already established in the field.  We will be alerting growers when we find them in Maine.  To date (7/5/12) spotted wing drosophila has been confirmed in berry plantings in Connecticutand Massachusetts, so we expect to find it here soon.  Products that provide good control of drosophila on strawberries include Delegate®, Brigade®, Danitol®, and malathion.  Keeping fields clean of over-ripe and rotten fruit can also help reduce the incidence of this insect.  For information on identifying spotted wing drosophila and making your own monitoring traps, visit the Michigan State University’s Spotted Wing Drosophila website.

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Tarnished plant bug:  This is one of the most prevalent and persistent pests of day-neutral strawberries, as summer flowering coincides with peak populations of this insect.  Adult and nymph stages feed on the flowers and developing fruit, causing them to have seedy ends and other malformations.  Regular insecticide applications are often required to keep the damage in check.  Scout the flower clusters for adults and nymphs often to determine if controls are necessary.  Insecticide products for tarnished plant bug include:

Tarnished Plant Bug
Product Days to Harvest
Brigade® 0
Pyganic® 0
Assail® 1
Dibrom® 1
Rimon® 1
malathion 3
Thionex® 4
Large Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph

Third Instar Tarnished Plant Bug Nymph, photo by David Handley

 

Tarnished Plant Bug Injury on Strawberries

Tarnished Plant Bug Injury, Photo by David Handley

Two-spotted spider mites:  Mites can become a problem during the summer when the growing conditions are warm and dry.  In addition to infesting the leaves, mites can move onto the fruit, reducing marketability.  Plants that are drought-stressed, over fertilized with nitrogen, or prone to dust covering, e.g. growing beside a dirt road, are especially prone to mite infestation.  Predatory mites can be an effective means to control spider mites and keep them in check over the season.  Releases should only be made when spider mites are present in the field to provide the predators with a source of food.  Most of the products labeled for controlling spider mites will also kill predatory mites, so do not use these products after predators have been released.  Scout for mites often during the season by examining the undersides of the leaves.  Control is warranted if more the 25% of leaves examined have mites.
Two-Spotted Spider Mites
Product Days to Harvest
Brigade® 0
Zeal® 1
Vendex® 1
Acramite® 1
Danitol® 2
Agri-Mek® 2
Oberon® 3
Savey® 3
Kelthane® 3

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Potato leafhoppers, sap beetles, thrips and spittlebugs may also become problems on day-neutral strawberries, but are less frequently observed than tarnished plant bug and spider mites.  Recommendations for these insects can be found in the current edition of the New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide.

Foliar and fruit diseases also need to be managed on day-neutral strawberries, and should be controlled in much the same way as they are for June-bearing varieties.  Most of the fungicide products labeled to control gray mold, powdery mildew, leaf spot and leaf scorch have either zero or one day to harvest, so protecting blossoms at the same time as fruit is near harvest should not be a problem; but be sure to check labels carefully and schedule your sprays and harvests accordingly.  Anthracnose fruit rotcan be especially troublesome for day-neutral strawberries, because it grows well under warm conditions and spreads by splashing water, which is encouraged on plastic mulch.  Fungicides registered for control of anthracnose include Cabrio®, Abound®, Pristine® and Switch®, all of which have zero days to harvest restriction.

Anthracnose on Strawberry

Anthracnose on Strawberry, photo by North Carolina State University

Visit the 2010-2011 New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide online for more detailed pest information.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                                  PestManagement
P.O. Box179                                      491 College Avenue
Monmouth,ME 04259                        Orono,ME 04473
207.933.2100                                   1.800.287.0279

Where brand names are used it is for the reader’s information.  No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against products with similar ingredients.  Always consult product label for rates, application instructions and safety precautions.  Users of these products assume all associated risks.

Published and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant Universityof 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

Strawberry IPM Newsletter No. 5 – June 15, 2012

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Strawberries

For full page print version, please see link at the bottom.  Click on photos to enlarge.

HARVEST SEASON UNDERWAY IN SOUTHERN MAINE

Leaf Spot, Gray Mold, Powdery Mildew Evident

Situation:  Most southern fields will open in earnest this week, and it appears that we’ll have a stretch of nice weather for it (at last).  The crop size and quality looks fair to good in most fields.  The open winter, spring frosts and prolonged rains have all taken their toll; such that many fields look good but lack “depth” as one grower I talked with recently put it, meaning that the season could be fairly short this year, especially for fancy quality fruit.  The predicted warm weather next week will also hasten ripening, so if you haven’t started advertising yet, don’t wait.  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.

Tarnished plant bugs were very scarce this week.  We saw only a few adults in the fields, and no nymphs.  A combination of timely sprays and wet weather appears to have kept these insects from being a problem in the fields we have visited this spring.  Keep scouting if you have late fields that are still in bloom.

Two-spotted spider mites are being found in most strawberry fields we scouted this week, although they have been below spray threshold levels; and we have also seen predatory mites in these fields.  With a predicted warm dry stretch of weather ahead, populations could increase fairly dramatically, especially if you have recently applied a broad spectrum pyrethroid insecticide such as Brigade©, which is very toxic to predatory mite species that can slow spider mite outbreaks.

Two-spotted Spider Mites

Two-spotted Spider Mites, photo by Michigan State University

Diseases:  Walking through fields with ripe fruit this week, the most common problem observed was gray mold.  This was not unexpected, given the amount of rain we’ve had, and the levels of rot were generally low.  If you have fields that are not yet ready to pick, and more than one inch of rain has fallen since your last application of fungicide, you should consider another spray.

Gray Mold on Strawberries

Gray Mold on Strawberries, photo by James Dill

Leather rot (Phytopthora cactorum) has been found in one field this week.  Reports of dull-colored fruit with bitter flavor may indicate the presence of leather rot.  The fruit is also tough and may have a pink or purplish tinge.  Foliar sprays of Aliette©, Agri-Phos© or Phostrol© can provide control of this disease.

Anthracnose fruit rot has been reported in southern New England this week.  This is usually a problem when fields have standing water present and warm temperatures.  The fruit show sunken patches of brown or black.  Whole fruit may suddenly turn soft or dry up to blackened mummies.  I haven’t seen anthracnose in the fields that I have visited so far, but be aware that this could still become a problem.  Effective fungicides include Cabrio© and Abound©.

Powdery mildew:  Mild symptoms of powdery mildew can be seen in most fields with susceptible varieties.  Again this is due to the poor weather this spring.  Discoloration of the fruit stems and caps may occur, in addition to the commonly seen leaf cupping.  Fungicides registered for control include: Abound©, captan, Pristine©, Cabrio© and Topsin-M©.

Leaf spot infections are becoming more noticeable as harvest gets underway, especially in plantings of ‘Wendy’.  Severely infected plantings look weak, have poor fruit size and reddened or brown stems and caps.  Fungicides registered for leaf spots include captan, Topsin-M©, Syllit©, Cabrio©, Nova© and Pristine©.

Leaf Spot on Strawberry Plant

Leaf Spot, photo by David Handley

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 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.

Strawberry Harvest

Strawberry Harvest, photo by David Handley

Websites worth visiting
If you are looking for information to help diagnose a problem in your strawberries or need a recommendation for a control strategy, the New England Small Fruit Pest Management Guide is available on-line.  You should also check out Cornell University’s Berry Diagnostic Tool.

Sincerely,

David T. Handley
Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                                  Pest Management
P.O. Box179                                      491 College Ave
Monmouth,ME 04259                        Orono,ME 04473
207.933.2100                                   1.800.287.0279

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.

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.