Diseases and pests of strawberries: treatment, control, treatment — About the farm

Major diseases and pests of strawberries

Strawberries — a great berry in the garden. About its medicinal properties known for several hundred years. In addition, it is delicious, sweet. Her children love and not mind to taste adults.

But even on well-groomed beds garden strawberries are not insured against the appearance of diseases and pests. If you do not fight them, then a good harvest will not work.

Diseases of strawberries and effective treatment in autumn and spring

Everyone knows that the fight against disease must begin before the first signs appear. Without preventive measures can not do. The sooner measures are taken, the higher the yield.

Fusarium and late blight on strawberries

Fusarium causes wilting of the leaves. Its first sign is necrosis at the edges of the leaf plate, after which the sheet gradually changes color to brown and completely fades. Recognize late blight on the plant by the following features:

  • bushes noticeably lagging behind in development;
  • cent of the bush becomes red;
  • leaves become grayish;
  • edges of sheet plate twist upwards, forming a bowl;
  • dying off the root system.

The fact is that spores of pathogenic fungi accumulate in the soil and on the roots of strawberries. To bookmark the beds choose only healthy material. Also, before planting, it is necessary to treat the root system of plants with biologics. Shrubs on which there are signs of defeat, it is better to immediately destroy.

Fusarium wilted strawberries

Mealy dew

Mealy dew significantly reduces yields, affecting all parts of the plant. It is possible to determine its appearance on strawberries by the following features:

  • leaves are twisted in a boat;
  • the color of the leaf plate changes, it turns purple;
  • on the surface of leaves and berries, a white mealy bloom appears;
  • berries shrink and deform.

In addition, the disease does not normally pollinate the plant, which reduces yield. Ripened fruits have an unpleasant taste and smell, more reminiscent of the smell of rot.

It is necessary to fight the disease immediately. Preventive spraying is carried out several times a season. The first time the plant is treated in early spring, then at the beginning of budding and after harvesting.

The bed is treated with preparations with copper, soap solution is added to them as an adhesive. For spraying using copper sulphate, Bordeaux liquid or preparations based on them.

Mealy dew of strawberries

Gray rot

Gray rot is a fungal disease that destroys the entire crop rather quickly. Symptoms of the disease:

  • light brown dense spots on fruits that grow rapidly;
  • fluffy bloom on the fruit;
  • ovaries and stalks dry out;
  • leaves are covered with brown or gray spots.

In addition, the strawberries on the affected plant quickly dry and mummify, and the disease progresses actively on young bushes.

Brown leaf spot

The insidious disease in a short time destroys the whole plantation of strawberries. It is quite simple to define it:

  • small brown spots appear on the surface of the sheet, which quickly form one large spot;
  • gradually the leaves of the affected plant turn yellow and die.

The fight against the disease begins in early spring, the plants are sprayed with copper preparations. After harvesting, the treatment is repeated once more.

Brown leaf spot

White spot

The fungal disease is manifested by white clear spots on the leaves of the plant, the edge of the spot has a dark color. The points do not merge into a single spot, but the affected leaves gradually die off.

Fighting the pathogen is carried out every year, not only take preventive spraying, but also regularly take care of the bed. Monitor the condition of the soil, weed out.

What pests are dangerous for strawberry and why?

Significantly reduce the harvest, not only disease, but also voracious pests that eat around the berries and leaves of the plant. Shrubs noticeably lag behind, flowering is delayed. Pest control is carried out throughout the growing season.

The first preventive treatment occurs in the early spring, after which another three or four sprays are made.

Strawberry Nematode

Strawberry nematode propagates very quickly. To this pest did not live on the site, be sure to use only healthy seedlings. Immediately before planting, the plant is satisfied with a douche that kills nematode larvae.

Shrubs immersed in a basin of hot water, the temperature of which is at 45 degrees, stand ten minutes. After that, immediately cool the seedlings in ice water. Only then proceed to planting. The landing hole is pre-filled with lime.

If the pest has already settled on the site, then the affected bushes dig up and burn. Identify diseased bushes is simple:

  • young bushes are deformed, become brittle;
  • shoots and internodes thicken;
  • flowering is almost absent;
  • the resultant fruits are small and ugly.

In addition, digging a bush, in its roots you can see small worms, whose length does not exceed 1 mm. This is a pest.

Strawberry Nematode

Strawberry mite and bushes processing

Strawberry mite infects the leaves of the plant, and begins to harm in early spring, sucking the juice from the young shoots of strawberries.

Pest females calmly winter in the soil, spring out to the surface and settle at the base of the bush. Signs of damage to strawberries:

  • young leaves of the plant are deformed, become terry along the edges;
  • gradually the sheet plate wrinkles;
  • the plant is covered with oily bloom;
  • berries shrink, reduced yield.

Dandelion infusion is made from fresh raw materials. The leaves are crushed and filled with hot water, the temperature of which is not more than 50 ° C. The mixture is infused for about 4 hours, then filtered and used for its intended purpose. A 10-liter bucket consumes about 1 kg of leaves.

The infusion of tomato tops are prepared from dry shoots, which are harvested in the fall. One kilogram of tops is poured with hot water (10 l) and infused for 4 hours. After that, the solution is boiled for two hours, cooled and filtered. The working solution is diluted 1: 2 and add rubbed soap.

Strawberry Mite

How to treat berries from spider mites?

Often in the garden they notice that the leaves of the strawberry are entangled in a thin web, they slow down growth and gradually dry out. This is a spider mite wielding. The pest sucks the cell sap of the plant, which leads to death, the yield drops.

At the first signs of a lesion, a bed of infusion of wormwood and tobacco is immediately sprayed. Prepare it the same as infusion of dandelion. If the moment is missed, the bed can be treated with Carbofos or the preparation «Fitoverm».

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Spider mite on strawberry leaves

Fighting aphids on strawberries

The pest is visible to the naked eye. The leaves of the plant are twisted, gradually dry out, the flowering is delayed, the fruits are deformed.

Of the popular methods for the fight against aphids, garlic brew is widely used. The heads are peeled and crushed. Garlic pour ice water (3 liters) and infuse the mixture for one week. After which the solution is filtered and used for its intended purpose.

Aphids on strawberries


The wasps also plague a strawberry plantation, consuming sweet berries. To get rid of them, special sweet baits are placed on the territory.


Some birds are not averse to pecking strawberries. Arrange scarecrow or plastic bottles, put on pegs. This will scare away annoying neighbors.

Remember, if time is lost, it is very difficult to defeat the disease and pests, treatment in most cases may be ineffective. Inspect the beds in a timely manner, remove weeds, carry out preventive treatment of strawberry bushes in the fall, remove the affected plants without regret.


Pests and diseases

Strawberry plants are susceptible to threat from various pests and diseases. A number of precautionary and protective measures are required in order to achieve maximum production.


Leathery rot

The fungus penetrates into the plant at the moment when there are wounds. The root neck of the affected plants shows a reddish brown discolouration. The progress of the disease may be quick; the plants will be wilting and die. Remarkable thing is, that the roots are still fully healthy then. To prevent similar attacks your are advised to use healthy planting material. In case susceptible varieties will be planted, you should immerse them before planting.

Red root rot

Growth of the plants will slow down and they will become dull bluish green. In spring the plants will convalesce somewhat. An affected plant will form no or only few flowers. The small fruits will dry out. The root-hair of the roots is lacking. When cutting the main roots, it will appear that the central cylinder has discolored red. To prevent this harmful effect you should buy certified planting material.


Colletotrichum is a water-loving fungus species, which may strongly spread, especially at higher temperatures (20°C is optimum). The fungus will spread from the soil through splashing water drops to fruit and crop. Consequently, preventive control should be carried out before rainfall. The first symptoms can be observed on the leaves. All three leaves will curl up. On the runners and leafstalks the attack can be observed in the form of ellipse shaped sunk small black spots. On the damaged fruit round sunk brownish black spots will appear. In an infected plant the fungus will spread. By observing utmost hygiene during activities in the fields quick spreading in the establishment can be avoided. If an infection should be established on a parcel, it should be worked or picked, as the case may be, at the end of the day.

Wilt disease

The fungi of this vascular disease will penetrate into the plant through its roots or through its stolons. Damaged plants lag behind in growth, which manifests itself especially on hot, scanty days. The damaged plants will be slack then. In a later stage the plant will creep as it were into the soil and the fruits it will still bear are small and dry. Diseased leaves will discolour dull yellowish green.


The type of rhizoctonia which will be described here may not be mistaken for black root rot, which is also caused by a Rhizoctonia fungus. In principle Rhizoctonia can occur throughout the year, however, no spreading will take place when it will be freezing. If a plant has been attacked, it will show reddish brown discolouration. In almost all cases erwinia is involved, as a result of which the entire heart will disappear and the sleeping eyes will start coming out. This will result in the formation of a bushy plant. To prevent this, planting should be done not too deep and not on wet parcels.

Blossom-end rot and stem rot

​ This fungus occurs especially in long-range crops. In an early stage small brown spots can arise on the buds. After flowering the calyx tails will turn brown, the fruits will discolour brown and will dry. The fungus will hibernate on dead parts of plant above ground level. Spreading will occur by precipitation.

Grey mould

Botrytis is a wound parasite. Stamina, which are breaking off and petals falling off prematurely are ideal attacking points for Botrytis. Characteristic is the whitish grey fungus fluff on the attacked fruits. They are traces of the fungus germs at high humidity of the air and temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 C. They are spread by the wind.


In case of an attack coming on, the leaves will curl, forming white fungus fluff on the underside. Subsequently light purple spots will form. Also the fruits can be attacked by mildew. Especially during hot weather the fungus can spread quickly. Some varieties are especially sensitive. In growing tunnels mildew can be avoided partly by preventing from arising. Aeration should be done by opening just the side that is out of the wind.

Purple spot disease

​ Typical characteristic of this type of fungous disease are the purple spots which appear on the leaves of the attacked plants. These round spots, measuring 2 to 5 mm, are having a red or brown spot in the middle. Just a single spot on the stem of a leaf or a cluster of flowers will be enough to let it die.

Animal parasites

Every year again various kinds of insects can cause much damage in strawberries. To obtain a crop with good results, effective fighting of these parasites should be part of the necessary measures to be taken. Eelworms, caterpillars, plant lice, red spiders, bugs, thripses and beetles should be controlled in the best possible and most correct way. Besides insect pests also snails are often a nuisance, to which much attention should be paid. Especially in glasshouse cultivation various biological killers of insects can be put into action. To this end the best thing you can do is to contact your local supplier.


  • Foliar nematodes — Foliar nematodes do not only live on strawberries but they also occur on a large number of plant species. They are especially in the centre of the plant. At the outside of the plant they can not live very long. The leaves are deformed, scalloped, minor and have sharp points. The leafstalks are considerably thinner than they ought to be. The number of flowers is poor and sometimes the whole production of new buds is lost. The buds on the side often sprout (the plant is falling apart as it were).
  • Stem nematodes — In contrast to foliar nematodes, stem nematodes can live for a long period of time without host plant. If a sensitive plant will be planted on infected soil, it will be attacked. If stem nematodes are involved, the attack can be best observed in spring. The leafstalks and flower stems will remain short and are strongly thickened and bumpy. The leaf rims will curl up and the leaves are covered with a bluish bloom and often strongly deformed. The flowers remain small and produce deformed fruits. The infection often occurs spot wise. To make sure about the actual presence of the infection, a soil sample is necessary
  • Free living root nematodes — (Longidorus elongatus and Xiphinema diversicaudatum) — Both species of nematodes have an extensive series of host plants. Plants which have been attacked by root nematodes, lag behind in growth. The root system has badly developed, the roots are stunted and have swollen root tips. What is more important than this direct damage, is the carrying on of viruses. In this way strawberry plants can be infected with viruses.
  • Root cystnematodes — (Pratylenchus penetrans) — The root cyst nematode can live on a large number of plants. For strawberries it is the most dangerous nematode species. Nematodes spend their entire life cycle in the roots of the plants. One generation will last about six or seven weeks. Attacked plants show interrupted growth, produce fewer runners and will die. As a result of this, so-called eelworm patches form in the crop. Especially on light soil this eelworm may cause damage. The development of the roots of attacked plants is far poorer. The ends of the roots are thickened and the root hair is lacking. An attacked plant is growing as it were on the soil and can be easily pulled out of the soil. Through the damaged roots fungi — for example black root rot — can penetrate into the plants.
  • Root-knot — (Meloidogyne hapla) — This nematode can be found especially on light soil. It provides a thickening (small tuber) on the fine roots. Plants which have been seriously attacked, are strongly lagging behind in growth and are worthless for future use. So far this nematode causes hardly any problems in strawberry plants.
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Subterranean caterpillar

Subterranean caterpillars are round, grey, twisted caterpillars, the size of which varies from a few millimeters to 3 centimeters. They can be found all the year round. They are caterpillars of different kinds of owl butterflies. Most species have one generation per year. If the caterpillars are still small, they live aboveground on young leaf green. However, they pass on rather quickly to a way of living underground. They eat from roots and different underground young parts of plant. Besides, they eat from the aboveground parts of plant during the night time. Subterranean caterpillars can often be easily found in the soil, because they take along parts of plant to their places of shelter.

Leather jacket

Leather jackets are the larvae of the daddy longlegs. This insect is present especially in ploughed up grassland. One daddy longlegs will lay three or four hundreds eggs. Leather jackets do not have legs and they are measuring a few millimetres to 3 centimetres. Young leather jackets are white. As they grow older they, colour grey and their form is getting flat. Their head is not clearly visible.

Wire worms

Wire worms are the larvae of the click beetle. Because of their yellowish brown colour wire worms are also referred to as click beetles. They eat themselves into the rhizome of the strawberry plant, as a result of which the strawberry plant will start to become slack. They occur, just like leather jackets, especially in ploughed up grassland. The beetles do not do any harm.

Plant lice

Plant lice live on plant juices and exude honeydew. As they suck plant juices, leaf deformations and sometimes fruit deformations are caused. Besides, some lice pass on viruses. The strawberry aphid and the shallot aphid are the major plant lice species, occurring on strawberries. Both species pass on virus diseases. Plant lice are having many natural enemies. The best-known are: ladybirds, lacewings, syrphus ribesii, earwigs and ichneumon flies.

  • Strawberry aphid — (Chaetosiphon fragaefolii) — The strawberry aphid is a small whitish green louse, which exclusively occurs on strawberries. The club-shaped hair on the back of this plant louse species can be easily observed under a magnifying glass. Besides, its dark eyes are conspicuous. There are several generations per year.
  • Shallot lice — (Myzus ascalonicus) — Shallot lice are small and bluish green. These plant lice suck on leaves and young flower stems, thus producing a bushy plant. The fruits are formed on short fragile stems close to the plant. Sometimes they are deformed. In summer plant lice infect different crops. In autumn they fly back to the strawberry again.


Beetles are insects which have two pair of wings. The first pair is not really a set of wings, but it is armoured. The second pair is situated under these wing covers. Both the beetles and the larvae have biting mouth parts. Consequently they are causing damage. The larvae have a distinct head and three pair of legs. The larvae of snout beetles and those of the strawberry blossom weevil are exceptions in this respect. They do have a distinct head but no legs.

  • Strawberry blossom weevil — (Anthonomus rubi) — The strawberry blossom weevil is a small dull black beetle (3-4 mm). The beetle feeds on leaves and pollen. In spring the beetle lays its eggs in the flower buds. When doing this, it pierces the flower stem at the same time, just under the flower. Consequently the flower will bend and start hanging. From the egg a legless white larva will develop, which will pupate in the flower. After some time the beetle will appear. In September the beetles will take shelter under the ground or under dead plant material. Comment: during the flowering season you should not use any pesticides that are harmful for bees!
  • Strawberry seed beetle — (Harpalus rufipes) — The strawberry seed beetle is a black beetle having a length, ranging from 10 to 17 mm, with yellowish red legs. It is a nocturnal animal which can often easily be found under black plastic. The beetles feed on the seeds that are on the strawberries. As a result of this damage the strawberries will become worthless.
  • Strawberry rhynchites — (Rhynchites germanicus) — Considering its size (2.5 — 3 mm) and form this beetle resembles the strawberry blossom weevil very much. However, its colour differs somewhat; dark, bluish green and glossy. Besides, the strawberry rhynchites has bent antennae and a short snout. The female will lay 1 to 4 eggs in the flower cluster stem. Subsequently she cuts the flower cluster stem off, as a result of which the whole cluster will die. The difference with the strawberry blossom weevil is, that this species cuts the flower stem and the strawberry rhynchites cuts the flower cluster stem.
  • Nettle weevil — (Phyllobius pomaceus) — This beetle is measuring bout 8 mm and its colour is yellow to bluish green with golden glossy patches. After their hibernation the yellowish white legless larvae will pupate in April. After a couple of weeks the adult beetles will come out. Eggs will be laid in May. The larvae feed on plant roots. The damage is comparable to that caused by the black vine weevil.
  • Black vine weevil — (Otiorhynchus species) — The grooved black vine weevil is a snout beetle of about 8 to11 mm long with dark, greyish brown, grooved wing covers. The beetles eat round bites from leaf rims. The actual damage is caused by the larvae, which are living subterraneously. The larvae are white to pinkish in colour, legless and have brown heads. They feed on the young roots of plants, as a result of which plants will die. The larvae overwinter in the soil or in the rhizome of the plant. In the latter case the plants will die.
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Just like insects, mites are arthropods. They have a skin of chitin. This skin serves as external skeleton. Although we can distinctly discern in insects their head, thorax and rump, in mites the corpus is forming one whole. Insects always have 6 legs. We can distinguish three species of mites: 1) harmless species, which feed on moss, algae and fungi, for example: moss mites; 2) harmful species, which suck the leaves of plants. Important species occurring in strawberry plants are the strawberry mite and the two spotted spider mite; and 3) useful species, which feed on harmful mites. They are the so-called predatory mites. If there is no animal feed (read mites) available, they will live on pollen, fungi, etc.

  • Strawberry mite — (Phytonemus pallidus spp. fragariae) — Strawberry mites are living exclusively on strawberries. They are very small (0.25 mm) and stay in curled up leaves in the centre of the plant. Looking through a magnifying glass they look like fine water droplets. However, they are moving! The adult females overwinter in sheltered places in the centre of the plant. If temperature rises about mid March, the mites move to the young leaves which are still folded. Subsequently, transparent eggs are laid in long lines along the vein of the leaf. The larvae which come out the eggs shed their skin e few times. After two or three weeks the adult mites appear. Mites can be observed in the folded young leave in the centre of the plant. This young leaf will shrink. The growing point of the plant will become dull and bluish green in color. The centre of the plant will turn brown. Attacked plants will produce short, stocky flower stems, which will not develop.
  • Two-spotted spider mite — (Tetranychus urticae) — The two-spotted spider mite can live on strawberries, but also on numerous different crops. It is also present in different weeds, such as Black Nightshade, small stinging nettle and gallant soldier. The adult females overwinter in sheltered places in the crops. In spring they become active. From mid April eggs are laid on the underside of the leaves. The larvae vary in color, from yellow to light and dark green. Sometimes they are even orange in color. Recognizing them, not the color is decisive but rather the two black spots on their body. The larvae and the mites will prick in the plant cells on the underside of the leave and suck them out. An initial attack is observed as yellow patches on the top of the leaf.


Thrips are also referred to as thysanoptera. This name refers to their wings, which are fringed with setae, small hairs. They are also known to be specially active in flying during sultry weather. Their size is maximum a few mm so that they can only be accurately observed when using a magnifying glass. Thrips have a few generations per annum. They are present in a large number of crops. Many kinds of thrips occur in The Netherlands, however, one single species is responsible for problems in horticultural crops. The problems they cause vary from sucking out of plant cells, as a result of which leaves die. Besides, a plant can react to this by providing rampant growth of tissue, which results in deformations of leaves. When leaves are sucked out, also viruses can be carried on. In strawberries especially Californian thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) causes major damage.

Besides Californian thrips also tobacco thrips (Frankliniella fusca) and rose thrips (Thrips fuscipennis) occur in strawberry cultivation, however, these species are less harmful. It is hardly possible to recognize with what species of thrips you have to do in specific cases. This is only possible if the thrips involved will be enlarged 250 times. Eggs are laid in plant tissue, both in flower bottoms and in leaves. Subsequently, the larvae develop in stages. This development also occurs both in the leaves and in the flower bottoms of the plant. In the prepupating stage the greater part of the thrips drop on the ground and look for some dirt or creep under plastic to pupate. When the pupae have come out, the adult thrips will move to the plants again and after a number of days they will start laying eggs. The best way to find thrips is by removing petals and the stamina of the flowers. Larvae and adult thrips will be sucking on the fruits. This causes brown scaly sucking patches round the seeds.

Bacterial diseases

Xanthomonas Fragariae

This bacterial disease mostly occurs in the hot climate of southern Europe. However, it can also occur in central Europe. A very infectious bacterial disease is involved here, which can destroy complete plantings, unless stringent hygiene measures are taken in good time. The attack can be recognized as angular light green almost transparent patches on leaves, which will produce mucus after some time on the underside of the leaves.

Our range of strawberry varieties offers a wide selection for almost every commercial grower. We have varieties for late as well as early crops, for optimal flavor, optimal yield, or even both.

Our strawberry varieties have also been included in a maturity time overview, where you can easily compare times of maturity.

For a number of years now, Vissers Aardbeiplanten BV has invested time and energy in a breeding programme in an attempt to find new varieties that are interesting for the commercial grower.

The best strawberry plants will not achieve their full potential without a good cultivation system.

Strawberry plants are susceptible to threat from various pests and diseases. A number of precautionary and protective measures are required in order to achieve maximum production.

Strawberry plants are classified as follows:

  • Pre-basic material (PBM) — This plant is registered at the Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture (NAKT) and has been tested for the absence of viruses. The propagating material obtained from candidate plants is classified as BM.
  • Basic material (BM 1, 2 or 3) — These plants are propagated in an aphid-proof greenhouse. The first generation of propagating material is BM1. As long as these plants are raised in an aphid-proof greenhouse, the stock they produce will be classified as BM2. The stock produce by BM2 will be classified as BM3 ans is propagated in an aphid-proof greenhouse. If the generation of BM1 or BM2 or BM3 is raised outdoors, in these circumstances BM5-plants are produced.
  • BM4 — The generation BM1 or BM2 or BM3, which are propagated in greenhouses, are suitable for propagation.
  • BM5 — The generation BM1, 2, 3 or 4 suitable for propagation
  • Certified material (CM) — Propagating material, obtained from BM certified mother plants.
  • CAC — Non-certified production plants, therefore not suitable for propagation purposes. The reasons for certification not being granted may be the foreign origin of mother plants, proximity of production fields or a too high percentage of plants with deviating traits.

The text above is derived from the guidelines set up by the NAKT in the Netherlands.Outside the Netherlands apply the same classification less stringent growth conditions.


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