Berries and Brambles Series: Strawberry Pests

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Now that you've got your strawberry system setup and are managing them, you may have diseases and insect pests to deal with. Strawberries tend to have many different diseases that target them. They can affect the fruit, leaves, stolons, and the roots of the plant. Insect pests on strawberries are those that may eat the leaves, fruits, and flowers. When dealing with what you suspect is either insect damage or disease, it's best to look through Extension guides that are available. Damage from insects and diseases can look very similar. If you've identified the insect or disease problem, find a publication that addresses controlling that specific pest.

Your main diseases on strawberries are Anthracnose, Angular Leaf Spot, Gray Mold, and Powdery Mildew. Anthracnose symptoms show up as red, brown discoloration on the leaf blades, black stolons, and blotches on the fruit. The photo above provided by Cornell is of Anthracnose.

Angular Leaf Spot will appear as water soaked lesions on the lower leaf.

Like its name denotes, Gray Mold will be gray, velvety growth on the fruit. If you have grown any cucurbits, you've most likely had powdery mildew which can also spread to strawberries. All of these diseases are caused by a pathogen, whether a bacteria or a fungus that can be spread by wind, dead leaves, human activity, or others.

To control these diseases, good cultural practices like proper spacing, irrigation management, mulching, and pruning can be effective depending on the disease.

Insect pests on strawberries include the strawberry bud weevil and the tarnished plant bug. The bud weevil will target the blossoms of the strawberries and sometimes the fruit while tarnished plant bugs causes irregular shapes on the fruit. There are other insect pests on strawberries like whiteflies. Cultural controls for insect pest management include removing dead leaf litter so insects cannot hide and increase populations, controlling weeds in the strawberry patch, and chemical control as a final option. Depending on the number of strawberry plants you have, you may find that hand removal of these insects is the easiest option.