I'm sure most of our gardeners would agree with me that strawberries are a favorite berry. They are one of the first to reach our tables. However, it is not always possible to get a good crop of aromatic berries. The reason: they rot on the strawberry. We will tell you in this Bubgo article why rotten strawberries are and what to do to bring them back to health.
5 Reasons Why Strawberries Rot
It is common to observe a situation where berries that are ripe and about to reach the ripening stage are covered with a fluffy coating and rot quickly. You can imagine the state of the gardener, who waits a few days to enjoy one of the most delicious berries! What happened? The unfortunate culprit is a fungus that causes various kinds of rot in strawberries: gray, white, and black. The fluffy coating that appears is the developing mycelium of the mushroom. The berries are usually affected first, followed by other terrestrial organs and then the roots. Most strawberry beds are damaged by gray rot.
A. Weather conditions
The most favorable conditions for the spread of fungal infections occur during long rainy periods when air temperatures are high. As temperatures reach above 50 °F (10°C) and air humidity increases, the process of fungal spore infestation of strawberry bushes begins.
Unless you grow in a greenhouse, it is impossible to influence this situation. Outdoors, you can only rely on good plant immunity and varieties suitable for your region. And do not forget about precautions. I will tell you about them below. Rot may be caused by weather conditions.
B. Garden strawberries rotted due to the wrong planting method
The most common ones include.
1. Overgrown plants. To avoid overly dense strawberry plantations, prune shrubs, remove diseased leaves, and thin them at the right time.
2. The vigorous growth of weeds is a favorite breeding ground for pests, which are carriers of disease spores.
3. Lack of ventilation under greenhouse cultivation conditions. Especially in the case of high density, there is a favorable environment for the emergence and further development of fungal infection, which is the main cause of rotting.
4. Excessive application of nitrogen fertilizers. The quality of the berries deteriorates: the fruit walls soften and rot easily.
What to Do if Strawberries Rot in Bushes?
Ways to prevent rot.
3. Agricultural techniques.
Gardeners are fighting the problem with agricultural techniques, and biological and chemical methods.
A. Biological methods of strawberry rot control
The idea is to spray strawberry plantations with biological preparations based on various beneficial microorganisms. Unlike chemical preparations, these can be used even at the ripening stage. This can also include folk methods. I recommend the following natural remedies, which can be used when strawberries are rotting in the bed.
1. "Indispensable". The latest biological preparations contain humic acid salts, Bacillus subtilis, and important trace elements.
2. Trichodermin and other equivalents.
B. Folk methods to protect strawberries from rotting
If strawberries rot in the bushes, gardeners often use these methods.
1. Potassium permanganate
Suitable for any strawberry infection. Add a small amount of the concentrated solution to 2.6 gals (10 liters) of water when watering the bush and surrounding soil. Treat several times a season, but no more than once a month. It is recommended to water the strawberry beds with plant spore powder after the manganese treatment to reacquire the beneficial microbial community in the disinfected soil.
Tip: A few drops of liquid boric acid can be added to the bright pink manganese solution to enhance the effect. This is a two-in-one solution: it repels pests very well.
For the prevention of fungal infections. Dissolve 50 g of dry powder in 1.3 gals (5 l) of hot water - about 122 °F (50°C). After two days, the infusion should be filtered and used, diluting it with water in a 1:1 ratio. It can be used even shortly before the berry harvest, as it is harmless.
A very affordable remedy to kill small amounts of fungal infections in infested objects. Water the plants with the prepared solution: 15 drops of iodine, 200 ml of warm water diluted with whey 2.6 gals (10 l). Process garden strawberries as a preventive measure 2-3 times before flowering, since the agent is very volatile and evaporates quickly from the surface of the leaves.
4. Garlic tincture
Finely chop 150 g of garlic, pour water over it, and steep it for a week in a closed container with heat. To use: Add 50 ml of filtered garlic infusion to a bucket of water. The same amount of grated laundry soap can be added to improve adhesion to the leaves. Spray three times at 10-day intervals during the germination period. This solution will help with gray rot problems.
Tip: Garlic infusions are safe and highly effective. They not only fight fungal infections but also increase the resistance of plants to unfavorable environmental factors. In addition, many garden pests cannot tolerate the smell of garlic.
C. If strawberries rot, use chemicals to treat them
The name is self-explanatory. Of course, this is the least favorite method of disease control among gardeners. However, in some cases, you can't do without it. The most common treatments are those containing copper sulfate and sulfur, which are the most vicious enemies of fungal infections.
Tip: Each product used has a specific waiting period - a period of time during which the treated crop must not be used for food. Many chemicals have long waiting periods. Many highly effective products can be used even long before the crop is formed, or Most chemicals do not cure infected plants, but only provide protection against further infestation of healthy specimens.
The latest generation of fungicides.
1. "Systemic fungicides" which fight against rots, powdery mildew, and spotted diseases. It works well even at fairly low temperatures above 35 °F (2°C) - so it is possible to apply it for preventive purposes in early spring. Recommended time of application: before flowering. The deadline for harmless use is when the first ovaries begin to form and the concentration of the solution is reduced by a factor of two compared to the spring terms. The manufacturer states that the product is completely safe for humans and plants.
Tip: The maximum effectiveness of the product is achieved in moderately hot weather.
2. "Teldor fungicide" is effective against diseases - white and gray rots. It differs from other preparations in that it forms a film on the surface of leaves, preventing the life of fungal spores that fall on them. A useful property of the drug is resistance to rain - even fairly intense precipitation does not wash away for a long time.
Tip: The waiting time is very short, only 24 hours. Therefore, three applications are recommended: after leaf growth, after germination, and after harvest. The protective effect after treatment lasts up to two weeks.
3. "PureCrop1 Biological" is applied 2-3 times before and after flowering. Spray at least once at 7-day intervals. It is not dangerous for gardeners and insects, therefore it is actively used.
4. "Trichodermin" comes in the form of large granules, which are easily soluble in water. It is very effective not only against gray rot but also against other fungal diseases of garden strawberries: powdery mildew, gray spot, and fusarium. The effect has been shown by applying it twice before and after flowering, at least 7 days apart. Getting healthy berries can be achieved by using chemicals.
If Strawberries Rot in Bushes, Agronomic Control Methods
The most popular as a preventive method to avoid fungal infections
1. Planting strawberries on a covered non-woven fabric. This method prevents the planting from becoming thicker because the resulting beard cannot take root and will dry out. Weeds are a "refuge" for pests and infection carriers and cannot break out. In addition, the berries do not come into contact with the soil and do not get soaked during precipitation or irrigation, so they are less likely to rot.
2. Choose a suitable area for your strawberry garden: well ventilated, well lit, and away from trees with wide canopies or various tall outdoor buildings.
3. Experience has shown that plants that are deficient in phosphorus are the first to be infected. With an adequate supply of phosphorus, bushes will form dense, sturdy berries that actively defend themselves against fungal spores. Make sure that you apply fertilizer at the right time.
4. After harvest, it is recommended to completely mow the leaves, the main hibernation site for fungal spores. It is not uncommon to hear advice to the contrary. Many people believe that pruning the leaves as the plant enters winter will greatly weaken the plant and future crops will emerge later. This is true if the correct time for pruning is not observed. It should be done as early as possible so that the strawberry plant can grow new leaves and not be frozen to death by the arrival of cold weather.
5. In autumn, the soil should be disinfected with any suitable solution. Manganese solution or copper sulfate (1%) will also work properly.
Tip: Plant strawberry varieties resistant to fungal diseases and recommended in your area. Give your plants the right care to avoid problems.
Take off the beard when the weather is dry. This way, the wounds will heal faster and become uninfectable. Observe the recommended species density of bushes. The recommended average size is 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) between rows of shrubs, with rows 24 inches (60 cm) apart.
Remove infested specimens from the bed in a timely manner. Afterward, a natural fungicide, such as Trichodermin or similar, can work on the infected areas.
Use any type of mulch: straw, sawdust, which is a natural preservative, as well as hay and non-woven materials. Weeds should be removed promptly.
Do this only under bushes to avoid water accumulation on top of plants. Maintain a crop rotation. Do not leave your strawberry garden in the same place for more than three years.
If you see strawberries rotting in the bed, fungal control should be started immediately. What to apply will depend on the developmental stage of the plant and your priorities. If the crop will soon wilt, use only the biological and folk remedies mentioned above.
Tip: As always, I remind you: before using any medication, make sure you read the instructions specifically given on the packaging of the substance.
How do you deal with strawberry rot? Share your experiences and advice with other gardeners in the comments!
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