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Strawberries are a must for every fruit fan and the red fruits can be grown wonderfully in your own garden. However, a few care measures must be observed, otherwise pests have an easy time. There are a handful of strawberry pests that are particularly fond of infesting the fruit. The most common pests and diseases are presented below.

Pests & Diseases

The most common strawberry pests and diseases at a glance:

  • strawberry powdery mildew
  • Strawberry Blossom Picker
  • leather rot
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Gnomonia fruit rot
  • White and red spot disease

strawberry powdery mildew

Strawberry powdery mildew can occur on flowers and leaves as well as on the fruit itself. Strawberries are particularly at risk when they are heavily weeded and have been in the bed for several years.

Powdery mildew can be recognized by the fact that a white coating forms on the underside of the leaf. The leaves turn purple and the top curls up. The rolling process usually takes place after the harvest. If the fruits are affected, first the seeds and later the whole fruits are covered by the white coating. They don't ripen and look like they've been dusted with powdered sugar.


The symptoms of strawberry powdery mildew at a glance:

  • whitish coating on the underside of the leaf
  • icing-like pollination on seeds and strawberries
  • curled leaf tips

Combat strawberry powdery mildew

To prevent infestation of the strawberries, you should not give nitrogen in the spring. It is also important that the distance of 30 cm between two plants is maintained. During the flowering and ripening period you should remove the weeds regularly. After the harvest is over, mow the entire plant.

To treat the strawberries you can use a fungicide use, sulfur-based products are most suitable. When buying, make sure that the plant protection product is approved for the allotment garden area.

Powdery mildew on a plant leaf

Strawberry Blossom Picker

The strawberry blossom cutter is a Beetle, which leads to damage to the strawberries and ultimately to the death of the flower buds. As a result, the harvest is only possible to a very limited extent, and a loss of yield sets in. You can recognize the infestation by the broken flower buds. They break off because the female beetle lays the eggs in the buds and gnaws at the stalk.

The strawberry blossom weevil belongs to the weevil family. It is a black beetle with a pear-shaped head and an elongated body. Overall, the pest is around 2 - 3.5 mm in size. The eggs themselves are 0.5 mm long and shiny white.

Each female of these strawberry pests damages about 30 blossoms because she lays just as many eggs. The laying takes place between April and June, if the weather is good it can also take place earlier or later. If the strawberries are in a greenhouse, earlier oviposition is also conceivable.


The symptoms of the pests at a glance:

  • large quantity of kinked inflorescences
  • Signs of gnawing on the stem
  • visible, whitish eggs in the buds

Fight strawberry blossom stingers

If it's a small stand of strawberries, you can check for the bugs by hand before flowering. Collect them from the plants. through the knock test you will be successful the fastest. To do this, place a white cloth under the plant and tap against it. Since the pest drops quickly, you can unmask it in this way.
Once the infestation is recognized by symptoms, all you can do is prevent it from spreading. Gather any buds that have fallen onto them so they don't spread any further. After harvest, a tansy infusion can help strengthen the plant.

leather rot

This disease is not that common, but still occurs from time to time. Affects unripe fruits that develop brown-red spots. The fruit changes, feels like leather and the consistency becomes rubbery.
If ripe fruits are affected, they develop purple spots. The pulp becomes soft, the taste of the fruit changes to bitter. Sometimes the leaf stalks are also affected, the leaves then wilt and the plant falls apart.


The symptoms of the disease at a glance:

  • brown-red spots on unripe fruit
  • gummy consistency
  • ripe fruits become soft and taste bitter

Treatment of leather rot

Leather rot caused by a fungus cannot be treated. The spores of the causative fungus are in the soil and from there they get onto the fruit. Since they can survive there for several years, you should give up the strawberry bed and create a new bed with strawberries in a new place.

Verticillium wilt

Suddenly it withers, the strawberry plant. First it is only one specimen, then the appearance occurs in nests. The reason for this is the Verticillium wilt. Mottled petioles, tendrils and inflorescences are a first sign of this. The disease usually only occurs after the ripening period, when the tendrils are already fully developed.
If the weather is warm and dry, the danger is particularly high. The plants are usually affected in bundles and differ enormously in appearance from the healthy specimens.


The symptoms of the disease at a glance:

  • Development of dark spots on the stems
  • small, short-stemmed leaves form
  • Plant appears dwarfed and small

Control of Verticillium wilt

It is hardly possible to treat this disease, because the pathogens have numerous host plants. These include tomatoes, potatoes, alfalfa and many ornamental plants and shrubs. With a deep soil replacement, it is sometimes possible to get the pathogen out of a bed. All plants must be completely removed.
The soil removed and the plants are highly contagious and must be disposed of separately or, if possible, burned. Even with this measure, the disease cannot always be eradicated.

Verticillium in branch cut

Gnomonia fruit rot

Gnomonia fruit rot is characterized by the brown discoloration of the fruit stalks and sepals after the flowering period. The fruit develops poorly, green fruits turn brown but not soft. When the fruits are ripe, they rot excessively quickly.

With this type of fruit rot, the fruit remains hard, does not soften and gradually develops dark spots. The leaves initially appear wilted as a result of this disease, but then they die off completely and the plant appears bare.


The symptoms of the disease at a glance:

  • brown discoloration of the fruit stalks and sepals
  • puny fruits turning from green to brown
  • no softening of the fruit

Treat Gnomonia fruit rot

The cause of this fruit rot is a fungus that can overwinter on the petioles and fruit mummies of strawberries. Long before flowering begins, the plant is infected with the pathogen. The fungus is spread by precipitation. Treatment with non-chemical means hardly makes sense, since the fungus is very robust and resistant.
As a preventative measure, you should remove old leaves in spring and not treat them with nitrogen. Ensure sufficient planting distance so that the leaves can dry off well. It is important that you always remove weeds. If fruits are infested, they must be disposed of immediately.

White and red spot disease

The white and red spot disease affects the foliage and causes an overall weakening of the plant. White spot disease occurs after the fruit has ripened, white spots develop on the leaves, merging into a brown border. Foliage dries and dies, weakening the plant.
The red spot disease manifests itself in a similar way, it forms brown spots, but without the typical white core. If the plant is heavily infested, the entire foliage turns reddish-brown.

Red and white spot disease on strawberries


The symptoms of the disease at a glance:

  • brown spots on the leaves
  • white spots in vitiligo
  • weak appearance of the plant

treatment of the disease

As a preventive measure, it is helpful to work straw under the plant. Heavy fertilization with nitrogen is harmful, the plant becomes more susceptible to the fungus. If the infestation is severe, you should remove the foliage completely. New shoots are then usually free of infestation.

Important: Incinerate the cut plant material or dispose of it with household waste. It must not be put on the compost as the spores can spread.

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