Berries Pest Management

May 17 Berry Bulletin

In this bulletin:

  • Crop Update
  • Ontario Crop Protection Hub

Strawberries:  With the low forecast, low humidity, clear and calm conditions, the risk of frost is high tonight in some areas. Irrigation for frost protection of strawberries includes information on frost protecting strawberries and critical temperatures, including when to start irrigation. Timing when to start irrigation incorporates the dew point: Farmzone provides dewpoint forecast for 24 hours.  

Irrigation will offer more frost protection than row covers alone. Row covers only offer 1-2oC of protection. A combination of row covers and irrigation is the best option for frost control.

If you don’t have sprinklers for frost protection, irrigating (with drip tape or travelling gun) before the frost event will help if the soil is dry. Irrigate today before the soil cools; the plants should be dry tonight.

Planting of June-bearing and day-neutral strawberries continues with the dry weather. There is bloom in fields that were row covered and early bloom in June-bearing fields that had no row cover. Day-neutrals have bloom and green fruit.

Aphids: insect activity really increased this week. Strawberry aphids can easily be found where insecticides haven’t been used yet. Check the underside of young, folded leaves for aphids. During bloom your options for control include Sivanto Prime and Beleaf. Beleaf will also provide suppression of tarnished plant bug at the high rate.  

Tarnished plant bug: nymphs are beginning to be found, especially in areas that were row covered. Beleaf applied at the high rate during bloom will suppress TPB and control aphids.

Clipper weevil: clipper weevils and clipped buds can be found in June-bearing strawberries. Pay close attention to your older fields, and monitor field edges for clipped buds. Group 3s or Cormoran can be used for clipper weevil control before bloom if needed.  

Cyclamen mite: As fields continue to fill in look for areas of weak, stunted growth with toughened, distorted leaves. Confirm this is cyclamen mite injury by opening up young, folded leaves. Cyclamen mites will look like piles of salt. Agri-mek or Vegol crop oil are registered for cyclamen mite. Agri-mek timing can be challenging- avoid applications during bloom.

Disease management: Growers have applied pre-bloom fungicides and are now protecting bloom and in day-neutrals green fruit. Group M products are a good and important choice at this point for resistance management and broad-spectrum disease control.

Blueberries: Bloom is beginning, and fields are buzzing with bee activity. Bloom is an important time for fungicides to control Botrytis and anthracnose fruit rots.

Spongy moth: spongy moth outbreaks are typically cyclical, occuring about every 7-10 years. The most recent outbreak was in 2021 in Ontario. However, there is still a forecast for severe defoliation in some areas of the province. Keep an eye on your fields surrounded by woods, and young fields. Spongy moth feed on foliage, and young blueberry fields can tolerate less damage that established fields.

Raspberries: raspberries are leafing out and we are starting to see fruit buds. Begin to monitor for raspberry fruitworm and strawberry clipper weevil once fruit buds are present.  Scout for these insects with a tapping tray or dish.

Protect growing primocanes and developing laterals with fungicides before and during bloom. Tanos is registered for cane diseases, but Pristine and Switch also do a great job on cane diseases when they are used to control Botrytis grey mould. Good coverage is important.

Ontario Crop Protection Hub: The Ontario Crop Protection Hub is our new source for crop protection information: There are short training videos available on YouTube on how to find rate, PHI, REI, and max app information: Ontario Crop Protection Hub- How to find rate and comment information for specific crops and pests. If you have questions about using the Hub reach out anytime!

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