Nutritional disorder – phosphorus (P) deficiency
Initially plants are smaller in size (stunted). Lower leaf color often turns darker green before giving way to a dull green coloration. Under cold growing conditions, the lower can develop a lower leaf orange to reddish coloration. With warmer conditions, lower leaf symptoms may develop a yellow coloration instead.
Plants appear stunted, runners shorter, and leaf size is smaller. Fruit size may be smaller.
Advanced symptoms of nitrogen deficiency can also result in lower leaf orange to reddish coloration.
Because symptoms can occur due to many possible causes, it is important to determine the actual cause in order to correct the deficiency.
Take a soil sample to determine if nutrient levels are inadequate. Submit a leaf sample for nutrient analysis. The sufficiency range for phosphorus in strawberries is between 0.2 and 0.4%. Values lower than 0.19% can lead to deficient conditions. Levels above 0.4% are considered excessive.
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 23, 2014
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