Strawberry virus

Strawberry crowns sold by nurseries are certified as being free from virus disease. Virus diseases that affect plants are usually incurable, and this is certainly the case with strawberry virus, which is spread by a particular aphid. If you are starting your strawberry patch with crowns from a friend, make sure the crowns are not infected before planting.
Symptoms of strawberry virus are: stunted growth, small and uneven leaf size, and small misshapen fruit. Any plant showing these symptoms should be removed and destroyed. Plants produced by runners (offsets) from infected plants will also carry the virus. To avoid diseases in strawberries, maintain a regular fertilising and watering program to keep plants growing strongly, as stressed plants are less able to resist disease. But, avoid over-fertilising with high nitrogen fertilisers as soft, sappy growth is very attractive to aphids, and may encourage crowns to produce runners instead of fruit. An application of seaweed extract tea mid spring and autumn can help make strawberry plants more disease resistant. Replace plants at least every three years, in a new patch of soil. This will reduce the risk of soil-borne diseases and maintain good cropping, as older strawberry plants are less productive.
Strawberry crowns can be quite expensive. You can purchase some to get you started, and increase the number of plants with offsets after the first fruiting season. Use only offsets from your healthiest plants, planting out during Full Moon phase.

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