Strawberry Update – Vegetable Crops Hotline

Strawberry Update

Strawberry harvest is right around the corner. We visited a few fields last week, things are generally looking good at the farm visited. Damage from the freeze event about two weeks ago seems minimal. With last year’s lesson, growers are prepared and applied frost protection to the early cultivars. Under the protection, the blooms survived the freeze event without significant damage. Some blooms were killed in fields without protection, but in general, those plants have not reached the full blooming stage and the temperature in the area did not drop to the point to kill popcorn stage flowers and tight buds.

The past fall was relatively warm, and winter was mild, which might have created great strawberry growth and flower initiation conditions. In southern Indiana, we saw Chandler plants growing on black plastic mulch with 3-5 crowns will likely lead to a good yield this year (Figure 1). We even saw some fruit has started to turn red. In central Indiana, bare-root plants that were planted in June last year on white plastic mulch are also developing very well, with a similar number of crowns. Early cultivars were starting to bloom. In the mattered row systems, we also found many cultivars are entering the blooming stage (Figure 2). Farmers commented that the crop is looking good, and the plants are in a good spacing.

High tunnel strawberry is in peak harvest in our trials in southern Indiana. Harvest started around middle April, a little later than previous years. This might be related to a severe aphid outbreak in the winter. But yield seems not to be affected.

Little disease and pest issues were observed in our scouting of growers’ fields, except two-spotted spider mites that were observed in a plasticulture field.

Figure 1. Strawberry growing on black plastic mulch in southern Indiana.

Figure 1. Strawberry growing on black plastic mulch in southern Indiana.

 

Figure 2. Strawberry in a matted row system.

Figure 2. Strawberry in a matted row system.

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