Strawberry E-Newsletter 2013 - Issue 2

Monday, July 29, 2013

Scholar for “black root rot” management:

Black root rot (BRR) continues to be a major pest of strawberries in Nova Scotia. Much like “red stele” root rot this collection of soil pathogens, primarily Rhizoctonia and Pythium, affect the plants ability to take in water and nutrients and under stress, often during harvest, the plants can wilt and even die. The disease is more prevalent on land that has a long history of strawberry production and the only effective strategies to manage the disease have been soil fumigation or finding new land, both of which are easier said than done here in Nova Scotia. Other control measures (high-fungal compost, cover crops, etc) have proven to be helpful but ideally we have been looking for a chemical control that would prove effective and affordable.

Quadris was registered in 2012 as a drench application to transplants at planting and I believe this is very helpful but we were also looking for something that could be applied at other timings. Scholar is a product that may fit this bill and can be applied twice per season in either the planting year or in the fruiting year. Like Quadris it can be applied as a drench within a week of transplanting in the planting year but it can also be applied in late July – early August in the planting year when plants are setting axillary buds. It can also be applied during the fruiting year in early spring when new leaves emerge or after renovation in late July – early August. It is reported to provide “suppression” of BRR so it is not a cure-all but it would be an interesting product to try if you have BRR issues on your land and want to try something new. If you do try it, please consider leaving an unsprayed strip along the edge of your field for comparison and let me know how it works out.

Monitoring and management of spotted wing drosophila (SWD):

The invasive fruit fly, spotted wing drosophila (SWD) was quite widespread in Nova Scotia last summer and did cause significant yield reduction in several late season berry crops. First catches were reported in Ontario and Quebec last week and in New Brunswick this week. Dr. Deb Moreau with AAFC in Kentville is continuing her survey work again this year and hasn’t caught any flies yet but we do expect them soon. If you have raspberries, day-neutral strawberries or highbush blueberries you are particularly vulnerable and ideally would be monitoring your own fields. The recommended management strategy is to begin applying controls after first catch through to the end of harvest.

Perennia has two useful factsheets that you may wish to review on this subject. The first is a monitoring factsheet that also includes directions on how to make your own monitoring traps and it can be found on Perennia’s website here!  The second factsheet lists the registered products that may be sprayed for control of SWD and it can be found here!

Upcoming meetings:

August 7th - Horticulture Nova Scotia is hosting a concurrent videoconference session on a recovery strategy for the strawberry virus problem. Please attend one of the locations near you to learn more about the issue, what is being recommended by the virologist consulted on the issue, and to ask any questions that you may have. For more information you may contact Horticulture Nova Scotia at 902-678-9335.

August 13th-14th – The North American Strawberry Growers Association is having their summer tour in Vermont this year and you may wish to attend as these tours are always informative and this year promises to be no exception. To find registration details you can visit the association’s website or call Kevin Schooley directly at 613-258-4587.