Management of strawberry diseases
Strawberry is attacked by several pathogens, including Botrytis cinerea, powdery mildew and Phytophthora spp. In recent years, Phytophthora species have gradually increased in their prevalence. Other fungal fruit rot pathogens have also become more prevalent but have not received sufficient research attention.
Recent EU reviews of pesticides have eliminated over 60% of active substances across Member States. Minor crops have been particularly badly affected, because certain active substances considered important to UK horticultural production have not been included on the EU positive list (Annex I), and further losses are occurring with the addition of hazard based criteria to safety assessments in the regulatory process. The tightened Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) legislation, the EU Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) and the Water Framework Directives (WFD) further restrict the use and application of the remaining synthetic pesticides. This has increased the pressures to seek and secure sustainable alternatives for the future.
IPM best practice involves using biopesticides in combination with the remaining synthetic pesticides and other cultural and manipulative measures including the use of clean (certified) planting materials, resistant cultivars, semiochemicals, biocontrol agents, disease forecasting and other IPM tools to achieve commercially acceptable control of pests, diseases and weeds.
We are currently developing and implementing strategies to manage key strawberry diseases: Phytophthora (crown rot and red-core), powdery mildew, fruit rot complex, and wilt. The central aim of this project is to optimise and integrate non-fungicide alternatives with conventional fungicides. Key UK researcher groups are collaborating to deliver IP strategies: East Malling Research, ADAS, and University of Hertfordshire.