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Old March 20, 2016   #1
TexasTycoon
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Default Strawberry concerns

I noticed the other day that several of the underleaves of my Elan strawberry plant had died, and that of the two plants in the pot, one of them is severely wilted. I do not see any pests, and the other plant in the same container seems to be doing okay with good production. Some of the leaves are turning dark at the tips. Any idea what's going on? Possibly overwatering or something more serious?

The first picture shows the dark tips on some of the leaves, the second shows the wilted plant.
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Old March 21, 2016   #2
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Correction, looks like there's actually three plants in this pot (I left them in the pot I bought them in from the nursery) and the smallest of the three is the one that's not doing too well. Is there any hope for it? Any idea what's going on with it?
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Old March 21, 2016   #3
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I am not a strawberry expert by any means, but if I would have to guess I would say too much water.

When I first started trying to grow strawberries I lost hundreds of starts. I learned the hard way that they don't like alot of water, it rots the crowns, which rots everything else.

I also learned that having some sand in the soil mix for drainage really helped. That and making sure the crowns were not buried by mounding up the plants in the center.

Mine were looking good a few days ago when we was in 80's and 90's and then we got two days of rain and now cold and frost temps and mine are all wilty looking and a few leaves have rotted from too much rain. I know when temps get back up again, they will perk up.

Generally, I try and keep bad looking leaves pulled off and if I see new plantlets that seem to be in a bad way, I use a knife and cut them out and will replant in a small separate pot with some extra sand to see if they will recover. I don't leave anything that feels mushy at crown level in the pot with the healthy feeling plants.

Hopefully some other folks with more experience will help you out.
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Old March 21, 2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
I am not a strawberry expert by any means, but if I would have to guess I would say too much water.

When I first started trying to grow strawberries I lost hundreds of starts. I learned the hard way that they don't like alot of water, it rots the crowns, which rots everything else.

I also learned that having some sand in the soil mix for drainage really helped. That and making sure the crowns were not buried by mounding up the plants in the center.

Mine were looking good a few days ago when we was in 80's and 90's and then we got two days of rain and now cold and frost temps and mine are all wilty looking and a few leaves have rotted from too much rain. I know when temps get back up again, they will perk up.

Generally, I try and keep bad looking leaves pulled off and if I see new plantlets that seem to be in a bad way, I use a knife and cut them out and will replant in a small separate pot with some extra sand to see if they will recover. I don't leave anything that feels mushy at crown level in the pot with the healthy feeling plants.

Hopefully some other folks with more experience will help you out.
Thank you Starlight, I appreciate the help! I know both I and my husband can get overzealous with watering and it was moist outside for the last half of last week, so I'm betting on too much water too. Last year was my first attempt at strawberries but they succumbed to spider mites within a week or two of potting, so I'm really wanting this attempt to go better. With a small container garden, each plant is monitored so closely since there's only room for one or two of each, so it's devastating when something like this happens. Hopefully the other two plants in the container will continue to thrive, there are at least 8 berries in various states of formation right now and I'd hate to lose them.
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Old March 21, 2016   #5
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I was also thinking I might be adding too much salt to the pot. MG (the blue stuff) has salts in it, right? I usually water with it in the can twice a week, so maybe it's adding too much salt which I've read strawberries are sensitive to.
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Old March 21, 2016   #6
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I water all my plants with usually 5 to6 days of MG and one or two days of just clear water to wash out excess salts. I've never had a problem with using the MG. I not only use the MG, but every so often, I feed mine a tiny bit of epsom salt before a rain or I am going to water.

I feel for you. It is rough anytime you lose a plant, especially when you can only have a few. Nothing like the taste of that first ripe strawberry. Hopefully when you get one, your hubby won't beat you to it. ; )

There is a product that might help with your spider mites. It is a 3-in-one product. A miticide, fungicide and insecticide. I just don't remember if is made by Garden Safe or Bayer, but I have found it works good. You have to read the label for use on veggies though.
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Old March 21, 2016   #7
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Kelly, I overwatered with 50% MG and um... killed 24 tomato plants. I used the red Tomato MG. I know that's not strawberries, but sounds sort of related to me.

I do agree with Star. Strawberries do not like to be overwatered. Last year's record rainfalls did our strawberries in. I fixed that problem this year though.

I planted 3 Texas Wild tomato plants in their place They're both small red fruits.
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Old March 22, 2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
I water all my plants with usually 5 to6 days of MG and one or two days of just clear water to wash out excess salts. I've never had a problem with using the MG. I not only use the MG, but every so often, I feed mine a tiny bit of epsom salt before a rain or I am going to water.

I feel for you. It is rough anytime you lose a plant, especially when you can only have a few. Nothing like the taste of that first ripe strawberry. Hopefully when you get one, your hubby won't beat you to it. ; )

There is a product that might help with your spider mites. It is a 3-in-one product. A miticide, fungicide and insecticide. I just don't remember if is made by Garden Safe or Bayer, but I have found it works good. You have to read the label for use on veggies though.
Okay, good to know the MG isn't killing them. We usually alternate between MG and clear water, and if I can't remember the last time I used MG I'll only put a half dose in just in case. No spider mites to be seen yet this year. That plant last year died so quickly that I can't help but think the mites must have been on it when we bought it and I just didn't see them. I've just started a regimen of spraying all the plants with a mix of water, neem oil, and DE every few days as a preventative, so hopefully that will help keep things under control.
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Old March 22, 2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlittleSalt View Post
Kelly, I overwatered with 50% MG and um... killed 24 tomato plants. I used the red Tomato MG. I know that's not strawberries, but sounds sort of related to me.

I do agree with Star. Strawberries do not like to be overwatered. Last year's record rainfalls did our strawberries in. I fixed that problem this year though.

I planted 3 Texas Wild tomato plants in their place They're both small red fruits.
Oh no, Robert! Your poor tomatoes! It's easy to do, though. I'm bound and determined to successfully grow at least one good strawberry this year (we got three from the plant that died last year but they were teeny weeny and not good at all ), so hopefully letting the plants dry out a bit will do them good. I knew we shouldn't have watered this weekend with how humid and moist it was outside, but I'd planted some seeds so all the plants got a drink anyway. Oh well, I'm glad I've got friends here to help me learn from our mistakes!
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Old March 22, 2016   #10
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Forgot to mention, I did end up pulling the affected plant last night as it was mushy at the crown, and I pruned the brown-tipped leaves off of the other plants (there were only three). Here's what it looked like after I pulled it.
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Old March 22, 2016   #11
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I know it is a pain, but since you did have a rotten, mushy plant, you might want to repot very carefully the other plants. If your afraid to do that, gently dig a little bit of soil away from the crowns on the other plants, so that they can fully dry out, so that maybe it will help kill some of the fungal/bacterial parts from the infected plant.

Yep, strawberries always seen to do better the second year. If your plant starts making runners, just get you some baby pots and lay the plantlets on top of the soil and I use a bobby pin to hold them in place til they root good then cut em loose from the momma.
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Old March 26, 2016   #12
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I would also like to add that Strawberries like a PH of 6.0 to 6.5. I use coffee grounds and a little Jobe's Organic Soil Acidfier. In my beds. And on the post above, About the runners.
I take Cardboard looking Plant pots and Use a Hole punch about a 1/4 of a inch below the rim
Punch a Hole and make a slit up wards. It will help hold the runner in the pot.
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Old March 27, 2016   #13
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looks like overwatering to me.
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Old April 15, 2016   #14
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I'm still having this issue with the remaining two plants, though now I know they have not been overwatered. I've pruned them heavily (see pics), is there any hope for them or should I start over with new plants? All of the ripe strawberries I've harvested so far have been small or deformed. I don't see any bugs at all, and none of my other plants are affected. (Pics in next post)
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Old April 15, 2016   #15
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Last edited by TexasTycoon; April 15, 2016 at 09:20 AM.
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