Most of my strawberry plants have leaves that first turned red, then brown and brittle. Leaves often snap off when harvesting what berries remain after the critters get them.

I'm trying to balance watering - I've been holding off a bit more on the watering since the berries are sitting on the ground and were rotting before ripening. The leaves began turning before I cut back on the watering.

It's my first time growing strawberries so I'm not sure what to do.

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    Can you attach pics to see the brown leaves? – Randy Jun 9 '11 at 3:27
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    @Chuck I echo "Randy's" request for a photo or two. Also please describe the growing conditions eg Soil structure, weather, etc. Plus, take a look at this excellent "Berry Diagnostic Tool - Strawberries" from Cornell University... – Mike Perry Oct 29 '11 at 14:20

So, you probably accepted that they're toast this year so don't bother with chemical treatments. Just pick bad looking ones out and let the runners grow for next year.

The fruits should probably not be on the bare earth regardless of the condition of the plant. Maybe you need some mulch, that would kill two (or three) birds with one stone:

  1. the ground would retain moisture (the roots are really shallow for strawberries);
  2. weeds would be contained;
  3. the fruits would not touch the ground.
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