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Pest & Disease Control for Strawberry Plants

Every plant has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your plants encounters. If available, disease-resistant varieties are the best option for easy care; and for all types of plants, proper maintenance (such as watering, pruning, spraying, weeding, and cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.

NOTE: This is part 7 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow strawberry plants, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Tarnished Plant Bug

Yellow-brown winged insect may have black spots or red stripes. Inject toxins into the buds and shoots that cause ‘dwarfed’ shoots and sunken areas (cat facing) on fruit.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Leafroller

Pale yellow or ‘dirty’ green worms. Leaves are rolled and webbed together where insects feed. Eventually becomes skeletonized.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Strawberry Leaf Beetle

Adults are small beetle that feed on leaves making many small holes. Larvae feed on roots. Plow up bed in mid summer to kill the larvae. Replant with new plants in another bed.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Crown Borer

White legless grub 1/5” long hollows out crown, plants slowly deteriorate and die.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

White Grubs

Large fleshy grubs eat roots of new plants, which slowly die. Don’t plant in areas that were recently grass.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Spittlebug

Immature bugs are small green, soft-bodied and adults are small (1/4”) winged insect that feed on the plant sap. They are surround by a white mass that looks like spit.
They suck on the sap, weakening the plants.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray

Weevil

Lays eggs in flower buds, and girdles the stem. Larvae feed on buds and destroy them.

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Japanese Beetle

Adult is metallic green beetle. Skeletonizes leaves. Larvae are grubs which feeds on turf roots. Check turf product labels for timing of control of grubs. This is more of a problem east of the Mississippi River.

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Aphids

They are the size of a pinhead and vary in color depending on the species. Cluster on stems and under leaves, sucking plant juices. Leaves then curl, thicken, yellow and die. Produce large amounts of a liquid waste called “honeydew”. Aphid sticky residue becomes growth media for sooty mold.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Spider Mite

Not a spider, but a tiny mite, sucks the juices from the leaves causing them to develop yellow and reddish-brown spots. Leaves die and drop. Underside of leaf appears to be dusted with white powder.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray

Fruit Rot

Gray, hairy mold. Decays blossoms, green and ripening fruits as well as harvested fruits.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Leaf Spot

Purple spots on leaves, may or may not have gray centers. Can be round but also fan-shaped. Can cause leaf curl. Many fungi cause spots and affect different varieties differently.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • Bonide® Captan Fruit & Ornamental

Leaf Blight

Appears as large red to brown spots with purplish margins. Mostly on older fruiting plants.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Downey Mildew

Usually appears on the underside of the leaves as tufts or downy masses of vegetative tissue leaves. Shoots and buds may be curled and whole plant somewhat dwarfed. Is more prevalent in humid weather.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust

Slugs

Soft bodied, looks like a snail with no shell. Burrows into ripening fruits.

Natural Control

  • A proven method of control is to put aluminum pie pans out with 1” of beer they crawl in and drown. Be sure to empty daily.

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Red Stele

Plants wilt and die, usually just before or during harvest. Roots decay and show red cores. Control by rotating crops with at least 4 years between them. Most resistant variety is ‘Surecrop’.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Mites

Pinpoint in size, many different colors. Found on undersides of leaves. Sap feeding causes bronzing of leaves. Severe infestations have some silken webbing.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer
  • Bonide® Fruit Tree Spray
  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Leaf Scorch

Occur when leaf cells overheat, browning and tissue death around leaf margins and between veins.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust

Gray Mold

The fungus thrives in cool, moist conditions. Usually begins on plant debris, weak or inactive plant tissue, than invades healthy plant tissue. Causes spotting and decay of flowers and foliage, tissue becomes soft and watery. Affected parts of plant could wilt and collapse. If humidity remains high a grayish-brown coating and spores develops over the surface of the collapsed tissue.

Natural Control

  • Good sanitation will help avoid the problem.
  • Remove and destroy dead leaves, flowers and dead plants.
  • Water the plants at soil level and not on foliage.

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Captan Fruit & Ornamental
NEXT: Pruning Strawberry Plants
Previous: Fertilizing Strawberry Plants