UK: 4 technical tactics for a successful strawberry season
Discover how to achieve natural and healthy strawberries using biocontrol in an unpredictable climate
Despite last week’s baltic blast in Britain, March officially marks the start of the UK Strawberry growing season. Previously, British strawberries have fetched around £325,0000 per year according to British Summer Fruits (BSF), which represents 98% of berry growers that supply supermarkets. This year, BSF figure is only expected to rise.
However, like many crops grown in greenhouses, strawberries are exposed to pests that can directly effect the amount of strawberries growers produce each season if they’re not treated or controlled. So, how do you ensure a vigorous and healthy crop with minimum harmful and persistent pesticides? Seek advice from our UK Commercial Manager.
Below, you’ll find Caroline Reid’s top technical tactics on how to squeeze every last strawberry from the UK’s unpredictable climate with the use of biological control.
1. CHECK FOR VINE WEEVIL
Vine weevil can be a major problem in both protected and unprotected crops. Nematodes work exceptionally well against the larvae of these pests if applied to the growing medium. We suggest application of nematodes in small regular doses throughout the whole growing season. Steinernema kraussei (Nemasys L) can be used all year round and is tolerant of low temperatures down to 4/5°C but equally effective at higher temperatures. Heterohabditis bacteriophora can be used only when the temperatures warm up to 14°C and above.
2. IMPLEMENT AMBLYLINE
Apply Amblyline (Amblyseius cucumeris) as soon as temperatures reach a suitable level – this will control both Tarsonemid mites within the crown of the plants and build up to tackle any thrips that may appear now or later on. For established population of Tarsonemid use loose products to get high numbers of mites into the crops as quickly as possible, but for longer term control use sachets.
3. INTRODUCE SPIDER MITE CONTROL
Glasshouse crops can have applications of Californiline (Amblyseius californicus) applied at a similar time to control red spider mites. Protected crops can have Anderline (Amblyseius andersoni) for the same reason. These are both preventative and available both loose and in sachets. Once spider mite appears in the crop use Phytoline (Phytoseiulus persimilis) loose in the affected areas.
4. MONITOR APHID POPULATIONS
Aphids can be a major problem and if the aphid can be identified then a specific aphid control can be applied. Alternatively, if there is a mix of aphid or species that isn’t identifiable, the Aphiline Strawberry can be used.
5. LOOK OUT FOR WHITEFLY
If whiteflies are a problem, the a mix of predators and parasites can be used – Encarline, Eretline and Montyline which all act in different ways to control the whiteflies alongside and chemical controls applied.
6. DON’T FORGET THE BEES!
Pollination will be needed when the flowers open, Beeline Audax – the native UK bee is available for pollination of crops. Introduce these as soon as flowers open to cover the flowering season. If the crop is an ever bearer then keep introducing throughout the flowering season.
For more information please get in touch with a member of the Bioline AgroSciences Team.