Younger leaves develop tip burn and as leaves expand they become cupped and distorted. Marginal leaf yellowing can also occur with more severe deficiencies. Petioles can develop darken lesions. Fruit are smaller and have a hard texture. Root growth is also less.
Good root systems and environmental conditions that encourage evapo-transpiration through the leaves will aid in the uptake of calcium (and boron).
Leaf tip burn and puckering helps to distinguish this disorder from boron deficiency which results in distorted and thicker leaves. Submit a leaf sample for nutrient analysis. The sufficiency range for calcium in strawberries is 0.5% to 1.5%. Values lower than 0.4% are considered deficient. There are no published recommendations for excessive calcium levels.
Take a soil and tissue test to determine nutrient levels. Make adjustments based on those test results and the lab’s recommendations.
Conduct a soil test prior to planting the crop to determine if pre-plant fertilizer applications are required. Fertilizer can also be injected to the crop during active growth. Recommendations vary by soil type and your location, so check with local resources for guidelines.
Funding was provided in part by the National Sustainable Agriculture Program: Sustainable Strawberry Initiative and the following sources.
A thank you is also expressed to Kube Pak of Allentown, New Jersey for donating strawberry plants.
Publication date: April 24, 2014
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