Berries Production Guide

Strawberries
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Strawberry Management Schedule

This section was updated - 21 April 2012

The following is a general guide to strawberry management based upon crop and pest development. The suggested timing will vary according to strawberry variety, weather and location. The actions are for established plantings except where otherwise noted.

Timing Type of Action Action
JANUARY/FEBRUARY Plant Care
  • No activity usually required.
Soil Care
  • Check for poor drainage and erosion - plan for fall drainage improvements. New plantings. Take soil samples if not taken the previous fall.
Other
  • "Finalize marketing plan for this season's crop to processors and/or fresh market. If fresh marketing, order fruit containers. New plantings. Confirm plant order with supplier to make sure plants are available. Also, advise supplier of expected planting date. Obtain required plant import permits. Ensure sprayers are tuned-up and calibrated.
MARCH
Early growth starts
Plant Care
  • Start spring cleanup. Remove old leaves before new growth starts. Rotovate to narrow rows to about 30 cm and incorporate leaves into soil.
Disease Control
  • "Remove and destroy old leaves to control fruit rot, powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases. Inspect weak areas for signs of red stele."
Insect Control
  • "Start monitoring for two-spotted spider mites (late March). Apply miticide, if necessary. If areas of poor growth appear, check plant roots for root weevil larvae, wireworms or leatherjackets. Control if necessary."
Weed Control
  • "Begin hand weeding to remove any overwintering weeds. Before weed seeds germinate, apply a herbicide for residual weed control."
Soil Care
  • "Incorporate cover crop or winter mulch, if used. New plantings. To prepare for a new planting, apply and incorporate lime, compost or manure, if they are to be used."
Food Safety
  • Ensure a food safety plan is in place including a record keeping system.
APRIL
Early growth starts
Plant Care
  • Apply complete fertilizer in bands, in early April. Continue spring cleanup, if not finished earlier (see March).
  • New plantings. Continue soil preparation and begin planting as weather permits. Apply first fertilizer once new leaves start to appear. Irrigate if soil is dry.
Disease Control
  • Watch for common leaf spot on susceptible varieties (Puget Reliance). Apply fungicides if needed. Remove and destroy old leaves, if not done in March. Check roots for signs of red stele. Apply Aliette after new leaves emerge.
Insect Control
  • Continue to monitor for two-spotted mites and predators, cyclamen mites, root weevil larvae, wireworms and leatherjackets. Inspect emerging leaves for aphids, especially after a few days of warm weather. Control when noticed.
Weed Control
  • Hand weed in the strawberry rows and cultivate or rotovate the aisles, as needed.
  • New plantings. Apply herbicide for residual weed control. If rain does not occur within a few days, irrigate to activate the herbicide.
Other Pests
  • Watch for slugs, especially if the weather is rainy. Control high grass around strawberry fields.
Soil Care
  • New plantings. Continue soil preparation, including adding manure or compost, before planting, if not done earlier.
MAY
Flower buds appear and open
Plant Care
  • If plant growth is weak, begin applying weekly foliar fertilizer sprays, as needed. Irrigate as necessary, if the soil is dry.
Disease Control
  • Begin Botrytis fruit rot control spray program when the first flowers open. If the weather is warm and humid, watch for the first signs of powdery mildew. Apply control sprays, if required. Apply a second Aliette spray if required.
Insects/Mite Control
  • Check for aphids, especially after a few days of warm weather and control when noticed. Immediately at first flowering, monitor for lygus bugs and spray if required. Continue to regularly monitor fields for aphids, lygus bugs, two-spotted mites and predators, strawberry mites, root weevils, and other pests.
  • New plantings. Check for aphids, especially under new, folded leaves emerging from the crowns. Control them, as required, to prevent the spread of viruses. Watch for leaf notching caused by the feeding of adult weevils, especially near the edges of the fields and control if present.
Weed Control
  • Hand weed to remove any weeds not controlled by herbicides.
Food Safety
  • Test irrigation and spray water for E. coli and fecal coliforms. Order toilets, hand washing units and other sanitary supplies.
JUNE
Flowering continues. Fruit development and ripening.
Plant Care
  • Continue to apply foliar fertilizers, if needed. If weather is warm and dry, continue to irrigate. Harvest and market fruit.
  • New plantings. Set new runners in the rows and, if the plant growth is not strong, remove the flower buds while hand weeding.
Disease Control
  • Continue Botrytis fruit rot control program. To obtain good spray coverage increase spray pressure and water volume as leaf canopy develops to obtain good spray coverage. Continue to watch for powdery mildew and leaf spot, especially following warm, humid weather. Control as required.
  • Nematodes. Test soil for nematodes in fields that will be planted to strawberries next spring, to see if fumigation is required.
Insect Control
  • Continue to watch for aphids, root weevil feeding injury, lygus bugs, spittlebugs, two-spotted mites and predators, strawberry mites, etc.
Weed Control
  • Last chance for hand weeding before harvest.
Other Pests
  • Slugs. Mow or rotovate any high grass near the strawberry fields to discourage slugs. If the weather is rainy it may be necessary to apply slug bait at field edges and/or between the rows.
Food Safety
  • Place portable toilets and hand washing units. Ensure workers are trained in good hygiene and harvesting practices.
JULY/ AUGUST
Post- harvest care
Plant Care
  • Take plant leaf samples or soil samples for analysis immediately after harvest, if needed. Begin renovation and post-harvest clean-up. Mow the tops of the plants off about two weeks after harvest ends. Rotovate to narrow the rows and to bury the plant debris. Apply the main fertilizer application in bands along the strawberry rows. Irrigate as necessary to encourage strong regrowth.
  • New plantings. Band remaining nitrogen fertilizer when runnering starts.
Disease Control
  • Conduct post-harvest renovation (as above) to reduce Botrytis, powdery mildew, and other disease problems. Apply fungicides if required. Check for root and crown diseases and soil problems in areas of poor growth. If fumigation is recommended, fields to be planted next spring should be kept weed-free in preparation for soil fumigation in September.
Insect Control
  • Continue to monitor two-spotted mites and predators, aphids, root weevils. Control if necessary. Check for wireworms (late-Aug.) in fields to be planted next spring.
Weed Control
  • Apply Lontrel before mid-August (before mowing) for control of established hard-to-control weeds like white clover, sorrel, vetch, etc. Hand weed if necessary.
  • Apply a residual herbicide for seasonal weed control. If quackgrass is a problem, apply Venture or Poast when the regrowth reaches the 3-5 leaf stage.
Soil Care
  • New plantings. If necessary, install drainage in fields to be planted next spring. Seed cover crops in fields being prepared for spring planting. Cover crops should be established by Sept. 15. Where wireworm control is needed, leave field bare over winter.
SEPTEMBER Plant Care
  • Order plants for the next spring's planting. If soil is dry, irrigate as necessary.
Disease Control
  • Continue to check for disease problems. Control if necessary. Cultivate between the rows to slightly ridge up the soil in the row area, if needed to improve winter drainage.
  • New plantings. If recommended by soil analysis, fumigate for nematode control, in preparation for next season's planting.
Insect/Mite Control
  • Continue to monitor for aphids, two-spotted mites and predators. Control two-spotted mites before they change into the orange, overwintering stage.
  • New plantings. Check fields to be planted next spring for wireworms, if not done earlier.
Weed Control
  • Check fields for weeds. Hand weed, if required. Apply a residual herbicide for seedling weed control during the fall and winter.
Soil Care
  • Subsoil between the plant rows before fall rains start, to break soil compaction and to improve winter drainage.
  • New plantings. Install drainage in fields to be planted next spring, if not done earlier. If wireworm control is not needed, seed fall cover crops by mid-Sept.
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Post-harvest care
Plant Care
  • Order plants for next spring, if not done earlier.
  • Interior. Apply mulch for crop protection after several frosts have occurred.
Disease Control
  • Apply Aliette before plant growth ceases or Ridomil up to Nov. 30 in the row area for red stele suppression during the winter months.
Insect Control
  • Apply controls for leatherjackets, if present.
Weed Control
  • Apply residual herbicide for winter weed control if not done earlier. It is generally applied to the whole field, not just to the row areas, unless an inter-row cover crop has been sown. Mow any tall grass and weeds around the field that could provide protection for mice during the winter.
Other Pests
  • If mouse activity is noticed, around the field, apply mouse control bait before mice invade the strawberry field.
Soil Care
  • Subsoil fields early in the month, if not completed earlier.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER Other Pests
  • Apply Ridomil for red stele control up to Nov. 30 if not done earlier. Continue mouse control activities (see October). Deer can be a problem in some areas. Contact a conservation officer at the BC Ministry of Environment.

 

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