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Strawberry plants leaves curling inward with brown spots...

Hi all

My first year strawberry plants got off to a bad start start this year after they were attacked by a summer hail storm of epic proportions.  

They recovered well though and have been doing fine.  The last couple of days though I noticed that some of the leaves are curling inward and have brown spots/marks.  

I've taken some pics and wondered if anyone with more experience and knowledge could help me diagnose what's up, and point me in the direction of what needs doing.

Many thanks







  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 7,953

    I think that's Common Leaf Spot.  Which is pretty common... as you might expect image

    It's a fungal disease spreading in warm, wet conditions.  Good air circulation helps to keep it at bay, but most modern varieties are bred to resist an attack bad enough to affect the health of the plant.  I'd pick off and burn (not compost) the affected leaves.

    The books recommend cutting off the old foliage after fruiting has finished, and burn it and the straw you've used to protect the fruit.  This gets rid of any diseased material.  You'll need to feed your plants after doing that, to build them up again.

    If you look on the internet for advice from the RHS you won't go far wrong.  image

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • TimKTimK Posts: 4

    Yes that does look like a bad case of leaf spot.

    Anything you can do to keep the leaves dry will slow the spread. As they look otherwise healthy, I would suggest trying to keep the plants going this year, by using a fungicide on the plants, if you can find one, or alternatively a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water sprayed onto the leaves. the acid in the vinegar disrupts the fungus that causes the leaf spot - a google might reveal the optimum mix.

    I have applied a fungicide several times this year to mine, and it's 99% eradicated the leaf spot. I stopped once the flowers were developing into fruits, as I don't want to ingest too much fungicide - the fungicide lingers for a few weeks.

    If you can keep 3-4 good sized healthy-ish leaves on the plant, then I would pull off the heavily spotted ones, throw them in the bin, and apply a treatment as above. As they are in pots, I would fertilise every couple of weeks too with a high potassium feed for the general health of the plants - avoid getting the leaves wet when you water or feed them.

    You can transfer the leaf spot fungus with your hands or any hand tools so bear this in mind to avoid contaminating healthy leaves and plants. A quick wash with soap/washing up liquid should get rid of any spores.

    If there's any way you could switch to a mulch that isn't organic then that could help avoid spores around the soil, I'm thinking pebbles or stone. I use bark mulch which is fairly inert I think, big chunks of bark that dry out, but stones would probably be safer.

    If towards the end of the season say at the end of September, you still have a big problem with the spots, I would consider binning the plants and compost once any fruit has come, sterilising the pots etc., then starting afresh.

    If you can find runners and plant them in September then they'll get established before winter, which will give them a head start to get going in spring and should give more fruit than spring planted plants.

    Do you know what variety are the plants? They look similar to the ones I've got which I think are the Honoeye variety (EBay seller so not 100% sure), they have leaf blades that are noticeably longer than they are wide, which seems unusual.

  • TimKTimK Posts: 4

    P.S. that looks like a great little strawberry plant cluster, apart from the issue with the spots.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 7,953

    You can get biodegradable "strawberry mats" at my garden centre.  About 25cm square with a slit and central hole for the plant.  Mine have lasted 3 years or so and keep the fruit clean (I don't have a local supply of straw).

    My strawberry plants get leaf spot every year (I live in a high rainfall area) but other than pulling off the worst affected leaves I don't do anything, and they grow and fruit ok.  I'm not keen on spraying food crops.

    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
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