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Crown Rot and Red Stele Root Rot in Strawberries: Silent Soilborne Threats

October 26, 2023
A woman kneeling between rows of strawberry crops with no signs of disease threats

Strawberries can fall victim to various fungal and bacterial diseases, with crown rot and red stele root rot being 2 of the most common. As soilborne pathogens, these diseases can destroy your strawberries from the ground up and are often difficult to identify until it’s too late to properly manage the disease.

These diseases thrive in various environmental conditions, meaning strawberries are susceptible throughout different phases of the growing season. However, with the correct preventive measures you can protect your crop health and quality.

Crown Rot Signs and Symptoms in Strawberry Crops

According to University of California IPM, initially, symptoms usually include plant stunting and small leaves. As the season progresses, plants may collapse slowly or rapidly. Cutting open infected plants, reveals a brown discoloration that can be seen in or throughout the crown tissue. Infection of the roots causes a brown to black root rot.

Red Stele Root Rot Signs and Symptoms in Strawberry Crops

According to University of California IPM, symptoms of red stele root rot first appear on plants that are located in low and poorly drained parts of fields. Strawberry plants infected with red stele root rot often become stunted as affected leaves die and are replaced by younger, smaller leaves. Young roots often become rotted with red coloration at the core. Infection is mostly limited to winter and early spring when the soil is oversaturated during cool weather.

Strawberry Disease Control Recommendations

Recognizing crown rot and red stele root rot in strawberries is crucial, yet often, visible symptoms may indicate that disease has already progressed significantly. That’s why it’s important to implement proper preventive measures to stay 1 step ahead of disease.

Avoid soilborne diseases like crown rot and red stele root rot in your strawberry crops with these recommendations:

  • Select Proper Planting Site: Your first line of defense from disease is selecting the correct planting location. Choose a well-drained field without a history of disease.
  • Use Raised Beds: Plant seedlings in raised beds, avoiding low wet spots as excess moisture creates an ideal environment for fungal disease.
  • Choose Disease-resistant Varieties: Consider planting strawberry varieties known for resistance to crown rot and red stele root rot.
  • Ensure Proper Irrigation: Avoid overwatering and the use of runoff for irrigation due to potential inoculum spread
  • Implement Fungicide Spray Program: Consider applying a systemic fungicide such as Orondis® Gold for ongoing protection against key Oomycete diseases like crown rot and red stele root rot.

Orondis Gold fungicide combines 2 powerful active ingredients to deliver preventive, residual and systemic activity that helps you control soilborne strawberry diseases during the season. A combination of mefenoxam and oxathiapiprolin, Orondis Gold provides built-in resistance management. In addition to offering crown rot and red stele root rot disease prevention, Orondis Gold helps secure early strawberry crop establishment and promotes root health.

For more insight into strawberry disease management, contact your Syngenta representative.

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