[NAFEX] Strawberry sun scald or fungus?

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Mon Jun 1 12:14:43 EDT 2009

When's the last time you moved your strawberry patch?  Strawberries do like
rotation, and you can get disease problems if they stay in one place too

~ Stephen

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of William C. Garthright
Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 6:04 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Strawberry sun scald or fungus?

> Strawberries with soft, whitish and watery blotches in my experience are

I'm sure you're right. I was just wondering why. (They're not 
overly-ripe, since some of them aren't ripe at all when this happens.)

> My first guess is rotting from watering. I wonder if they are getting 
> too wet and staying wet too long?? Is there enough air circulation 
> among the plants? You said it's been dry but can they drain or are 
> they wet?

The reason I thought it was sun scald is because the rot seems to start 
on the top of the strawberry (well, on the side of the berry which is 
uppermost at the time), not on the underside which is in contact with 
the ground or mulch. That's the part of the berry which should dry off 
most quickly, don't you think? (On the other hand, it could be where a 
fungus spore might land, too.)

I definitely don't over-water them. The patch was dry as a bone when I 
was picking, and they were clearly hurting for water. On the other hand, 
my sprinkler doesn't put out much water, so I leave it run for awhile 
when I do water.

> Yes, this sounds like fungus.  What time of day do you water?  You need to
water in the early AM.  Evening watering leaves more water on fruit surfaces
and that makes fungi happy.

I don't water in the evenings, but from now on, I'll try to water as 
early in the day as possible. (We finally got a little rain last night, 
and there's a possibility of more tonight, so maybe nature will help out 
a little bit now. Of course, nature wants to rain in the evenings. Heh, 
heh. Can't have everything, I guess, huh?)

This hasn't been a big problem, so far. I've had strawberries for 
several years, and usually find a few berries like this. Last time I 
picked them, though, there were eight or ten berries which were rotting 
like this, which IS unusual. So I started to worry about a fungus (when 
before, as I mentioned, I'd assumed it was just sun scald).

I appreciate the replies. It seems then that no one thinks it's actually 
sun scald, right? But no reason to start spraying with fungicides, 
either? That's all I needed to know. I'll work on watering them as early 
in the day as possible.

Thanks much,

Lincoln, NE (zone 5)

To be elected in America, no matter from what party, the candidates have 
no choice but to year after year pledge to lower taxes further and 
further. We have become the nation of Ken and Barbie, looking good but 
very poor at the math. - Rack Jite
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