Alabama Strawberries Progressing Well

Clint ThompsonAlabama, Strawberries

By Clint Thompson

Alabama strawberries are progressing well, according to one industry expert. Edgar Vinson, assistant research professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University, liked how his state’s strawberry crop has progressed and believes plant timing is a big reason why.

“What I’ve seen, it’s pretty hopeful, pretty positive. Plants have got really good size and really good color,” Vinson said. “Growers, for the most part, planted on time. That really makes a big difference. You can plant as much as a few days late and you can see a real big difference in terms of size when you compare a late planted strawberry to a strawberry that was planted on time.”

A concern moving forward is how the strawberry plants will continue to grow amid the current rainy period that is impacting parts of the Southeast.

“If it’s not really well-drained soil, it could set up excess moisture in the root zone and that promotes root death and also disease, which also could end up in root death. Depending on the severity, you could get a severe drop in yield,” Vinson said.

Vinson said there have been confirmed cases of Neopestalotiopsis Fruit Rot disease, though the plants are growing out of it. He talked about other diseases that are familiar to Alabama producers.

“Anthracnose is an issue, although in the last couple of years, we haven’t had a huge problem with anthracnose. We’ve had more of a problem with phytophthora root rot which can cause decline in plants,” Vinson said. “You can have plants that were healthy a day ago or earlier in the day and later on in the day, you can see them beginning to show signs of collapse. They could be dead the next day.”