Strawberries stock

Nov 11, 2020
Fall pest scouting important for Arkansas strawberries

A majority of the state’s strawberries are in the ground and growing, but some growers may have more mites to contend with than in years past.

“In some areas of the state, we’ve had very little rain recently, and those drier conditions are more conducive to mite populations,” Aaron Cato, Extension horticulture integrated pest management specialist with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said. “Mites are active when temperatures are above 50 degrees, and during our winters in Arkansas, we have many days above 50 degrees. The combination of dry conditions and extended warm weather has led to more issues than we are used to seeing in the fall.”

Scouting, sampling and controlling mite populations now can ensure a more fruitful crop in the spring.

“If you have mites when you transplant, they’ll continue to reproduce fairly quickly in the fall,” Cato said. “If you are using row covers, that could mean more damage over the winter.”

Growers can get a good idea of their mite populations by sampling their fields and collecting 10 leaflets per acre.

“If you find five mites per leaflet, that indicates you need to spray the field,” he said.

Acamite, Kanemite, or Nealta are Cato’s recommended treatments because they kill not only the adult mites, but also the juveniles and eggs. Other treatments, such as Agri-Mek, may only kill the adult and juvenile mites, but not the eggs.

Cato and Amanda McWhirt, extension horticulture crops specialist, planted a strawberry variety trial on Sept. 30 and observed low populations on all varieties. This trial is located in Kibler, Arkansas, where there has been plenty of rainfall. San Andreas, Rocco and Liz varieties had the highest mite infestations. San Andreas and Albion are varieties that generally have mite issues.

Amanda McWhirt

“People who planted earlier in September may have even more problems,” Cato said. “That’s why it’s so important to get out now and scout.”

More information about fall management of strawberry pests is available on the Cooperative Extension Service website at https://www.uaex.edu/farm-ranch/crops-commercial-horticulture/horticulture/ar-fruit-veg-nut-update-blog/posts/fallmgmtstrawberrypests.aspx.

To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.

– Tracy Courage, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture 




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