By Clint Thompson
North Alabama strawberry producers need to stay vigilant in their management strategies this fall and winter. It will help protect against potential stress that might arise, which could lead to vulnerability against new diseases like Neopestalotiopsis Fruit Rot. That’s the message that Eric Schavey, Regional Extension agent in Northeast Alabama
“The talk has been that I’ve been talking with some of my growers is the importance of staying on your schedules; stay on your fertilization schedules; stay on your fungicide sprays. Mainly cut down on the stress of that plant,” Schavey said. “We were in the 40s the other night. Monday morning it was like 38 degrees. There’s some chances of frost that could be happening. I know it’s extra labor but get your frost cloth out there. Be ready for it. It’s coming. Anything that we can do to cut down on the stress of our plants, I think it’s going to help us in the long run with some of these new diseases that are trying to come in on us.
“We have some new strawberry plug growers in our area. I’ve been telling my growers, you’ve got to make sure your management is spot on. We have proven growers and proven suppliers that you know you’re getting good quality plugs from, and I’m not saying these others are not; I’m saying with something new, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing everything right as a grower, in case of a crop failure or seedling failure. If you’re not doing it right, you really don’t have anything to stand on to say, ‘Hey, your product wasn’t good.’”