British strawberries: 4 ways to utilise biocontrol mid-growing season
Calling all UK Strawberry growers...
The British strawberry season may have got off to a slow start, but the half way mark is creeping up on us. How has your crop been growing so far? Healthy, strong, succulent & sweet? Or, perhaps you’d aspired for a better kick-off to the season.
Regardless of whether your crop has experienced success or failure to date, it’s important to ensure you are implementing the correct precautions to stop your crop being destroyed by pests all season long. Vine Weevil, Whitefly, Aphids & Tarsonemid Mites all love feeding off strawberry plants – so there are plenty of bad bugs to keep an eye out for.
How? Well, if you’ve started to spot the early stages of weakness in your strawberry crop and are keen to stick to preservation of their growing environment as it is at the heart of your production, implement biocontrol.
Below, discover what BCA’s you can utilise to protect your crop for the remainder of it’s growing season.
1. DON’T FORGET TO 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. ARE TARSONEMID MITES HIDING IN THE CROWN?
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. SPOTTED SPIDER MITES?!
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. DON’T LET APHIDS BECOME A PROBLEM
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. POLLINATE, POLLINATE & POLLINATE!
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.
And remember… You’ve only got half of your strawberry season left, make sure the remainder is a sweet success.