Canada produces strawberries almost exclusively for the fresh market, so appearance is very important – if it doesn’t looks good consumers won’t get the opportunity to taste how sweet it is. Strawberries are successfully grown across Canada. Regions and grower preference often determines if the varieties are day neutral varieties or June bearing varieties. Canada imports three times as many strawberries as it produces, however locally produced berries are known for a more pleasing taste than their long-shelf-life imported counterparts.
Disease management crucial for perfect red berry
Nothing can damage the appearance of a strawberry quicker than disease. Botrytis is the main cause of strawberry root rot, which can result in serious fruit loss. However it can be controlled with a fungicide application. Red stele can cause serious plant loss and poor yield. As the disease can live in the soil for many years, growers should be sure to use certified disease-free planting stock to manage the disease.
Weed management to manage disease and pests
Strawberries are a highly competitive crop, but weeds should still be managed. In season, hand weeding, hoeing in rows or a residual herbicide application can reduce plant life habitat for insects and disease. A post-harvest herbicide application will control established weeds over the remainder of the year.
Plan ahead for insect control
Because of their short growing season, especially for June bearing varieties, growers need to consider pre-harvest intervals when determining when an insecticide, or any pesticide, should be applied to a strawberry crop. Common insect pests in strawberries are mites and aphids. Strawberry mites attack from the centre of the plant out, resulting in stunted growth, while spider mites can reduce yield by up to 15 percent. Growers should spray to control mites as soon as possible after growth starts. Aphids can result in misshapen blossoms and can also prevent fruit from forming. Aphids can also spread viruses in the strawberry plant.