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We have a strawberry patch in our back yard. There seems to be a lot of mold growing there, which is getting to the berries before we can. What can I do to prevent this from happening?

Cool, and especially damp this spring. I live in the St Paul, MN, so it is fairly cool most of the time (compared to summers elsewhere at least). They have raised sides around them, and are pretty packed in there. Looking at the bed, you can't see any of the ground through the leaves.

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Climate, conditions, location? Sounds cool and damp? –  winwaed Jun 23 '11 at 13:56
    
Does yours turn grey and hairy or just get soft on the vine? –  Peter Turner Jun 26 '11 at 12:35
    
Grey and hairy. –  David Oneill Jun 27 '11 at 16:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Strawberry beds need to be "rejuvenated" every few years. This means killing or removing all the plants in one part of the strawberry bed. The remaining plants will fill in the cleared area by runners. The usual reason that this is done is because the older plants are much less productive than new runners / plants.

In your case this will also reduce the plant packing and get some air flow through the strawberry bed. This will help dry out the moisture on the plants and soil. (Mold likes moist conditions) If you must water be sure to do in the early morning so that it can all dry out.

If it is any consolation I am also having some minor mold problems in my central Iowa (200miles/320km south of OP) strawberry bed. Sigh It has been an very cold and wet spring.

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It feels a little weird accepting an answer when I won't actually know that this helps until next summer, but that makes sense. –  David Oneill Jun 29 '11 at 21:25

Strawberries are especially susceptible to the fungus Botrytis which is probably the cause of the moldy-looking growth you're seeing. Botrytis likes wet and humid conditions. The only way to control its spread is to make sure to remove infected material as soon as you see it; improve air circulation in your patch (make sure plants aren't crowded and thin out old, dead leaves); keep plants in light soil that doesn't stay too damp; and water only in the morning (and only if needed) in such a way that the fruits don't get wet. Some people suggest raising your fruits off the ground with straw, but I keep finding infected fruits on my straw bed because we've had so much wet weather lately.

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