University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION
The use of trade names in this publication is solely for
the purpose of providing specific information. It is not
a guarantee or warranty of the products named and does
not signify that they are approved to the exclusion of
others of suitable composition.
ACREAGE AND VALUE
In Florida during the 1964-65 season 24,150,000
pounds of strawberries were produced from 3,500
acres and were valued at $7,175,000. Strawberries
are grown in most sections of Florida. Major areas
are: West-Central Florida (Hillsborough, Manatee
and Polk Counties), with 35 percent of the acre-
age; the lower East Coast, (Dade, Broward, Palm
Beach and Martin Counties), with 54 percent of
the acreage; and North Florida (primarily Brad-
ford County), with 11 percent of the acreage.
Commercial acreage declined for a number of
years to a low of 1,400 acres in 1959. The 1965
planted acreage was 3,600. This increase is the
result of improvement in production and market-
Production practices may change rapidly. For
the latest publications and additional information,
contact your county agent. Other publications
Extension Circular 193E, Commercial Vege-
table Insect and Disease Control Guide.
Experiment Station Bulletin 629, Insects and
Diseases Affecting Strawberries.
Extension Circular 225, Commercial Vege-
table Fertilization Guide.
U. S. D. A. Farmers Bulletin 2184, Straw-
berry Insects-How to Control Them.
U. S. D. A. Farmers Bulletin. 1560, Preparing
Strawberries for Market.
U. S. D. A. Farmers Bulletin 2140, Diseases
U. S. D. A. Leaflet 414, Reducing Virus and
Nematode Damage to Strawberry Plants.
Florida 90.-Large, vigorous plant. Heavy
yielder, over a long period, of large, red, pointed
fruit of good shipping quality.
Dabreak.-New, high-yielding variety with ex-
cellent shipping quality. Fruit size and shape of
Florida 90, with brighter red color and slower to
appear over-ripe. Plants resistant to leaf spots.
Missionary.-Very old variety seldom used ex-
cept where early harvest is desired, yields less
than Florida 90.
Other Varieties.-In recent years several other
varieties have been tested but are not recom-
mended. These include Solano, Wiltguard, Fresno,
Torrey, Shasta, Lassen, Dixieland, Albritton,
Early Dawn and Headliner.
Distances in Inches
Between Per Acre
Beds Between Plants (Thousands)
bed 48 60 8-12 12-14 15-25
bed --- -- 60 84 8-10 10-12 20-30
North Florida Central Florida South Florida
Sept. 20-Nov. 10 Sept. 20-Nov. 15 Oct. 1-Dec. 1
Strawberries are grown commercially on most
Florida soils except the organic soils. Fertiliza-
tion practices vary among the different soils and
areas. Make soil test prior to land preparation
and, if needed, add lime to raise pH to 5.5 6.5. If
magnesium and pH are low use dolomitic lime-
stone. Apply liming materials at least six weeks
prior to setting and mix into the soil at least six
inches deep. On high pH soils, manganese defi-
ciency may occur. To correct, spray plants two or
more times at five-day intervals with two pounds
of manganese sulfate in 100 gallons of water per
Apply fertilizer as follows on sandy soils:
Broadcast one-half of the basic application and
disk in prior to bedding. Apply the other one-half
in a single narrow band in the middle of the bed
four to eight inches deep where plastic mulch is
to be used with double-row beds. Do not apply
fertilizer in bands directly under the plants, or on
top of the soil between rows where plastic mulch
is used. Salt burn may occur from improper
placement of fertilizer. Use rates as recom-
mended in the following table.
^ ------ .4' -A ---
S- BROADCAST FERTILIZER
Diagram of strawberry bed and fertilizer placement.
Basic Supplemental Applications
Actual lbs./ Actual lbs./Acre of
Acre Each Application Appli-
N-P20s-KO2 N-P205-KO2 cations
(Irrigated) 108-144-144* 15-0-15** 1 to 2
(Unirrigated) 84-112-112* 15-0-15** 1 to 2
Peat & Muck Strawberries Not Recommended
Marl 80-160-160* 15-0-15** 1 to 2
Rockland 80-160-160* 15-0-15** 1 to 2
*Broadcast one-half and disk in prior to bedding. Apply the other half
in a single narrow band at time of bedding.
**This application is suggested where a delay of 2 to 4 weeks occurs
after transplanting before plastic is applied. Band 3 to 4 inches to
side of plants at depth of 2 to 3 inches.
Nitrogen from natural organic has not given
increased yields or better quality of fruit. More
than 20 percent of the nitrogen from an organic
source should not be used. Under some conditions
the use of organic will create nitrogen deficiency
problems and may increase soil diseases.
Anthracnose.-The disease occurs most often
in nursery beds, causes spotting and girdling of
runners and leaf stems. It is most severe with
high temperatures and excessive moisture. To
control, spray with three to four pounds of 48-53
percent metallic copper from basic copper plus
spreader-sticker in 100 gallons of water or dust
with 6 percent copper dust at 20 to 35 pounds per
acre and use on a preventive schedule once a week
or more often. No time limit is needed between
last application and harvest.
Rhizoctonia Bud Rot.-This rot is most preva-
lent during cool, humid weather. Favored by fog
and heavy dew. Avoid areas where this disease
has been prevalent on previous crops particularly
where heavy legume cover crops have been grown.
Cut and allow cover crops to thoroughly dry be-
fore turning under.
Leaf Spots (common, scorch, blight).-In the
nursery spray with three to four pounds of 48-53
percent metallic copper from basic copper in 100
gallons of water at 75 to 150 gallons per acre or
dust with 6 percent copper dust at 20 to 35 pounds
per acre at seven to ten-day intervals. Use lower
rates on small plants.
In fruiting fields, use two pounds of 75 percent
zineb in 100 gallons of water or 20 to 35 pounds of
61/, percent zineb dust per acre at seven-day inter-
vals until full bloom, then switch to three to five
pounds of 50 percent captain in 100 gallons of
water or 20 to 35 pounds of 6 percent captain dust
per acre at seven-day intervals, throughout the
remainder of the fruiting season. If the captain
treatment is used throughout the season, use the
three-pound rate before bloom and the five-pound
rate following bloom.
Black Root.-This condition occurs on older
plants in the nursery. These plants will usually
produce new lateral roots and vigorous plants
when transplanted. Good soil aeration two or
three weeks prior to digging aids in new root
Sclerotium Rot (Southern blight).-Develops
during hot, wet weather and is most severe in the
nursery during the summer. This fungus attacks
plants at the soil line and invades both the crown
and roots, causing sudden death of plants. Avoid
areas where this disease has been prevalent on
previous crops, particularly where heavy legume
cover crops have been grown. Cut and allow cover
crops to thoroughly dry before turning under.
Fruit Rots.-Use 50 percent captain, as recom-
mended for leaf spots, at seven-day intervals. No
time limitation is needed between last application
of captain and harvest.
Several nematodes attack strawberries. Of
these, three are most severe in Florida.
Sting Nematode.-It kills feeder roots by suck-
ing juices from them. Grasses, particularly crab-
grass and corn, are hosts and rapidly permit this
nematode to multiply. Sesbania is also a host for
sting and rootknot nematodes.
Rootknot Nematode.-Injury is usually most
obvious in hot, dry weather; however, some dam-
age during the winter has occurred where straw-
berries follow crucifers (turnips, mustard, cab-
bage, etc.). Rootknot causes galls on roots, which
interfere with water and nutrient uptake.
Bud Nematode.-This nematode inhabits air
spaces in leaf buds, punctures young tissue and
sucks out juices. It injects a toxin which causes
leaves to become crimped, crinkled, or "frenched."
Begin with nematode free plants. All these
nematodes may be brought in on plants.
Properly prepare land by plowing and fitting
so that all debris is broken down.
Use fumigation chemicals effectively, either
in row or broadcast. Broadcast is best; row appli-
cation is satisfactory for production fields. Apply
fumigants 6 inches deep in the soil, in bands 12
Type of Bed Material Amount per Acre
Broadcast or DD, Telone, Vidden D 20 40 gal.
Four Row EDB 85% 5- 9 gal.
(Four bands 12" Vorlex 25 30 gal.
apart) *DBCP 50% by volume
(Nemagon, Fu.mazone) 2- 3 gal.
Two Row DD, Telone, Vidden D 10 -20 gal.
(48"-54") Vorlex 12 15 gal.
(Two bands 12" EDB 85% 21/2-41/2 gal.
apart) *DBCP 50% by volume 2- 3 gal.
*As of November, 1965, the USDA waiting period for DBCP is 300 days
between application and harvest. Use larger amounts in heavy or
Apply fumigants only when soil moisture is
optimum for transplanting. Wet or cold soils re-
duce the distribution of fumigants and slow the
escape which may cause injury to plants. In dry
soils, fumigant escapes too rapidly. Soil surface
must be sealed immediately after application of
fumigant by dragging, rolling, bed pressing, or
light overhead irrigation. When cool or wet
weather follows fumigation, soil may have to be
aerated to allow fumigant to escape. A waiting
period of at least two weeks before planting is
necessary with all the fumigants except DBCP
(Nemagon, Fumazone). Where the same land
will be used and fumigated year after year, use
the lower rate listed in the table to reduce soil
residues and to prevent reduction of beneficial
soil organisms. As noted in the footnote above,
DBCP may not be used at present without waiting
300 days to harvest. Granules may be used in-
stead of liquids. However, DBCP mixed in ferti-
lizer is not recommended.
Bud nematode is most difficult to control be-
cause of its occurrence in plant buds. Parathion
dip treatment of nursery plants before planting
has given good control. Special precautions and
recommendations are necessary. See your county
agent for these.
Spray- Min. Days
Pest amt./100 gal. Dust to Harvest
Pameras DDT 50% WP, DDT 5% 5
Flower Thrips 2 lbs.
Malathion 25% Malathion 5% 3
WP, 4 Ibs.
Parathion 15% Parathion 1-2% 3
WP, 1-11/2 lbs.
Field Crickets DDT 50% WP, DDT 5% 5
Flea Beetles 2 lbs.
Leaf Rollers Parathion 15% Parathion 2% 3
WP, 1-1Y2 lbs.
Spider Mites Kelthane 182 % Kelthane 2% 2
(red spider, WP, 1/2-2 lbs.
green 2-spotted Malathion 25% Malathion 5% 3
mite) WP, 4 lbs.
Parathion 15% Parathion 2% 3
WP, 2 lbs.
Wireworm, Preplant treatment. Apply Aldrin at 4
Cutworms, pounds or chlordane at 5 pounds active
Mole-Crickets, ingredient per acre. Apply evenly to
White grubs, soil surface and disk in. Where wire-
Citrus root weevil, worms are not controlled by Aldrin or
Ants chlordane, use parathion at 2 pounds or
diazinon at 2 pounds active ingredient
per acre and apply as above. A 2%%
toxaphene, or 2% Aldrin or chlordane
bait can be used for cutworms and
Slugs & Snails Apply bait containing 2 to 3% metalde-
hyde and 5% calcium arsenate along
furrows between beds at 10 to 20
pounds per acre.
Black polyethylene plastic mulch for straw-
berry fruit production has proven to be superior
to all other methods of mulching. Advantages
are: more vigorous plant growth; higher yield of
fruit; earlier ripening of fruit; elimination of
most hoeing and cultivation except in the mid-
dles; more constant moisture in the bed; pre-
vention of leaching of fertilizer; prevention of
washing down of beds; and cleaner fruit with less
cracking during wet weather.
Disadvantages are: Special equipment needed
to apply; beds must be precisely formed; more
salt and fertilizer burn if weather is dry, and
fertilizer is not placed properly; and used plastic
is difficult to remove from field following use.
Use 1 to 11/2 mil plastic in a width that will
completely cover top and sides of bed. The width
must be determined by height of bed, width
across top and slope of sides. It is best to have
plastic slightly wider than necessary for ease of
application and to prevent the plastic from blow-
Apply plastic just prior to planting if trans-
planting by hand, or a few days following setting
if transplanting by machine. Be sure bed is
formed properly and is firm and very moist. A
bed press of proper design to make a bed with a
slight crown in the top of the bed with a gentle
slope on the side is desirable in sandy soils. (See
drawing in Fertilizer Section.) Bed height is de-
pendent on soil type, kind of irrigation used, and
CAUTION: Slit plastic and pull plants through
immediately after laying to pre-
vent heat burn of plants.
HARVESTING AND HANDLING
Harvest berries every two to three days, or
more often, during the early morning to avoid
over-ripe fruit. Handle fruit carefully in picking,
grading, packing, and shipping. Grading and
packing are usually done either in the field as the
picker harvests directly into the paperboard tray
which contains 12-pint cups, or the berries are
picked in quart cups and graded at the packing
shed into the 12-pint tray. To successfully pack
as berries are picked, fruit quality must be good
and pickers must be experienced and closely
supervised. Berries should be pre-cooled to at
least 40F. immediately after packing and main-
tained at 40"F. or slightly below until consumed.
Post-harvest Treatment.-During periods of
high rainfall and temperature when fruit tend to
bruise, rot and ripen more rapidly, use a post-
harvest dip with DHA-S (Ganes Concentrate).
Use one gallon of 10 percent DHA-S in 25 gallons
of water, and immerse berries or packed flats for
30 seconds in the solution, then remove and allow
to drip dry. Do not rinse. This treatment will re-
duce rots and also slow down ripening of berries.
PROPAGATING RUNNER PLANTS
Several methods used are:
1. Plants are secured from northern nurseries
and set during January or February in Central
Florida or March or April in North Florida; then
runners from this planting are set in a new run-
ner bed in May to July. Transplants for fruit
production are taken from this planting.
2. Selected mother plants or runners are moved
from the berry field in March or April to produce
plants as described above.
3. Production fields are cleaned up in May or
June and allowed to produce runners. For econ-
omy of labor and cost of plants, method three has
been quite successful if recommendations listed
below are followed:
Use nematode free plants and soil.
Keep production field clean throughout fruit-
Remove plastic mulch in late May or early
Bar off and remove one row of plants.
Re-bed and center remaining row of plants.
Broadcast 500 to 600 pounds 6-8-8 per acre at
time of re-bedding-re-fertilize as necessary.
Keep weeds controlled.
Proper use of plastic mulch will reduce need
for chemical weed control in fruiting fields. How-
ever, some weed control is still necessary in the
middle and around plants where they come
through slits in plastic. The recommended herbi-
cide may be applied on soil surface prior to appli-
cation of plastic. The greatest need is in plant
production nurseries. The following chemicals
may be used without injury to strawberry plants.
Dacthal 9 lbs. actual
per acre. pre-emergence to weeds
Diphenamid 4 lbs actual
er acre. pre-emergence to weed
water furrow only.
Herbicides should be applied :r
proper equipment that has bee.,,.
ibrated precisely. Only use
cides on a limited area to
experience with them before tre
ing all of your acreage, and be su
those used have label clearance 1
use on the crop before using.
Protection of open blossoms and fruit down
26'F. can best be done with overhead sprinklk
irrigation by following these simple rules.
Use brass sprinkler heads that deliver a.
least two-tenths (0.2) inches of water per hour.
Space sprinklers to cover not more than 50
percent of their effective diameter.
Turn on when the temperature falls to 34F.
and run until the temperature raises to 34F.
Have, accurately, good calibrated thermom-
eters placed in the field at plant height.
Clear ice forming means good cold protec-
tion. Milky ice means no protection and the wa
ter application rate should be raised by increasing
nozzle orifice size.
M. E. Marvel and James Montelaro in cooperation
with other personnel of the Institute of Food and
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service. University of Florida
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director