Disease Management Considerations for Producing Strawberry Plug Plants

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Strawberry plug plants are commonly used in the strawberry industry with multiple benefits. Plug plants establish with less overhead watering and management after field setting. Plant size and quality is generally higher and some growers prefer to plant plug plants as compared to bare root plants. Important diseases associated with strawberry plants include anthracnose, bacterial leaf spot, Botrytis crown rot, viruses and phytoplasma diseases, Rhizoctonia or Pythium root rot, Phytophthora crown rot and powdery mildew. In the past 2 or more years we have seen a higher level of anthracnose and Phytophthora associated with plug plants and these problems typically are associated with contaminated tips. Contaminated plants or poor management during the plug production phase can result in substantial losses to plant quality and ultimately fruit production. Observations based on experience also suggests plug plants have higher mite populations than bare root transplants. Apparently, greenhouse conditions favor parasitic mites or limit populations of beneficial mites.

Frank Louws
NC State University