NC State Extension Publications

Problem

Poor pollination, misshaped fruit.

Two strawberries shown with a poorly shaped one on the right.

Normal fruit and mishaped fruit due to poor pollination.

Rocco D Schiavone

strawberry fruit with shrunken dark tip and undeveloped seeds.

Poor pollination due to cold injury.

Rocco D Schiavone

Symptoms

Small misshaped fruit, malformed fruit, flowers that do not develop into fruit, small seeds and normal seeds on same fruit.

Similar Problems

Micro nutrient deficiencies such as boron, damage to flowers from insects (thrips, mites, tarnish plant bug, etc.) and botrytis may cause misshaped fruit.

Additional Information

Usually occurs very early in spring during frost/freeze conditions as well as cold wet weather or when row covers are used for an extended period of time.

Diagnostic Tips

Micro nutrient deficiencies such as boron, damage to flowers from insects (thrips, mites, tarnish plant bug, etc.) and pathogens (botrytis) may also cause pollination problems. Examine plants closely for insects and pathogens also use tissue testing to check nutrient status to rule these out.

Corrective Measures

When using row covers remove as soon as possible and uncover during warm days when used for extended time periods to allow wind and insect pollination.

Management

Protect flowers/fruit from freeze and frost with overhead irrigation or row covers. Introduce bees in the field at 10% bloom. Avoid using row covers during the day when plants are blooming. Avoid pesticide sprays when crop is blooming. Spray pesticides early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid bee activity.

Funding Sources

Funding was provided in part by the National Sustainable Agriculture Program: Sustainable Strawberry Initiative and the following sources.

University of Arkansas Division of Ag logo

Walmart logo

Author

Research Specialist
Horticultural Science

Publication date: March 25, 2014

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