North Carolina ranks third or fourth in national production of fresh market strawberries with an estimated 1,700 to 2,000 acres and a farm gate value of 16 to 20 million dollars. Production costs on a yearly basis total $13,000 per acre (plasticulture) and nearly 100% of the crop is marketed as fresh market, either through pick-your-own operations or retail. Strawberries are produced throughout the state of North Carolina. The majority of the strawberries produced in North Carolina are grown in an annual hill plasticulture system and a minority of the crop is grown using the matted row system.
Major diseases include: those that affect the fruit (primarily) such as Botrytis rot and anthracnose fruit rot; those that affect the foliage such as powdery mildew, common leaf spot, and Phomopsis or Gnomonia leaf blight; and those that affect the root or crown such as Phytophthora crown rot, anthracnose crown rot, black root rot, and less commonly, red stele.
Farm operations that incorporate multiple and IPM based disease management programs appear to be most successful in managing diseases. Key components to manage diseases include the use of certified “disease-free” plants or plants from a reputable nursery. Additional best management practices include crop rotations, use of cover crops to replenish soils with organic matter, sanitation practices, in certain instances – rouging, and application of targeted disease management products.
Some additional web sites:
- Fruit Disease Information Notes
- Small Fruit Center
- NC Strawberry Association
- Strawberry Plasticulture Guide for North Carolina
Recent Disease Info:
- Phytophthora Crown Rot: Widespread in 2004 (pdf, alt pdf)
- Anthracnose Problems in 2003: Current Data, Research and Recommendations