Manage strawberry rot

Manage strawberry rot

Strawberry plants are easy to grow, so it’s frustrating when things go wrong and you don’t get the sweet, succulent harvest you’d imagined. One particular problem is rotting fruit. Here’s why it occurs and how to fix it.

Delicate strawberry fruit is very prone to rotting when wet. In some cases, a common disease called grey mould (or botrytis) may take hold, producing fuzzy grey growth on the fruit. These problems can be the result of rain, overwatering or the fruit resting on damp soil.

When watering, be careful to target the soil, not the plant. This greatly helps to alleviate the problem. Also, maintain a nice dry mulch of straw around the plants and under the fruit (they don’t call them strawberries for nothing!), and regularly replace wet straw with dry stuff. You’ll also want to remove old growth, and thin out excess foliage to reduce moisture build-up around fruit. Be diligent about removing diseased foliage and fruit to avoid a build-up of pathogens.

The easiest way to deal with excess moisture around fruit is to grow strawberries in pots. The fruit can spill over the side, where they stay dry, and the pots can be kept off the ground, where there’s good airflow, allowing foliage to dry out quicker. You can also move the pots to shelter during rainy periods.

There are plenty more tips to help solve your strawberry troubles and grow healthy, delicious fruit in the July 2022 issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, out now.