Midwest Small Fruit Pest Management Handbook: Strawberries
Strawberries are attacked by a variety of pests. Many cultural practices can help in managing these pests. The single most important factor in controlling pathogens is the maintenance of vigorously growing plants. Weeds compete with strawberries for essential water and nutrients. Weeds also promote pest injury by acting as alternate homes for pathogens and insects, by inhibiting spray penetration, and by maintaining a high humidity in the canopy.
Good soil and air drainage are essential. Roots quickly rot in waterlogged soils, and fruit rots are more prevalent when the soil surface does not dry quickly. Well-drained loams are the most suitable soil types for good root penetration. Sites where cold air can drain away to lower levels will decrease the possibility of frost damage to the plants and fruits. A southern, sloping site is the ideal location, providing quick-drying soil and earlier maturing berries.
For good root penetration, aeration, and drainage, organic materials should be added to the soil. Disk farm manures and/or green manure crops (cover crops) thoroughly into the soil before planting. (Poultry manure is least desirable, as it tends to promote too much vegetative growth and soft berries; both conditions encourage disease.) Have the soil pH determined at your Extension offi ce and apply the necessary lime to adjust the pH in the range of 5.8 to 6.5 (see Table 9-1 on page 222). The calcium level should be above 1,000 pounds per acre. Some soils that are low in magnesium may benefi t from the use of dolomitic (Hi-Mag) lime or magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts).