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What is decapitating my unripe strawberries?

Discussion in 'Diseases & Pests' started by flattop, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Jun 2, 2012
    flattop

    flattop Sprout

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    Can anyone tell me what pest is cutting through the stems of the all the unripe strawberries and leaving the fruit untouched on the ground by the plant? It is only unripe fruit and just before they start to turn red. They are netted and inside a polytunnel. I have grown strawberries for a few years but never had this problem before. Unless I can deter the culprits, from 40 plants, I will not have any strawberries to eat at all this year!
    I couldn't find anything useful in my books or on the web. HELP!
    Thanks.
  2. Jun 2, 2012
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    That sounds like a tough nut to crack, Flattop. Covered with netting and inside a tunnel . . .

    The nextdoor neighbor has once again set up a birdfeeder with millet seed. Why they do this at this time of year and not others, I don't know. It might be a help for the baby sparrows. I do know that the tree squirrels have bounded across the road from the 2 walnut trees and are having a wonderful time! This will probably last until a bag of birdseed has been gone thru. . . either that, or that the cat population in the yard reaches some kind of critical mass.

    I was just pointing out to DW that it is unlikely that we will have any strawberries with so many tree squirrels hanging out waiting for the birdfeeder to be filled.

    For your unripe strawberries, all I can think of is voles getting under the netting. That they bite off the stem but leave the unripe berry, doesn't really surprise me. I don't know that we need to account for everything that goes on in a rodent's activities. What about seting out some mouse traps and seeing how that works out? I suggest the very simplest Victor traps, baited with a raisin, dipped in peanut butter.

    Steve
  3. Jun 2, 2012
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Deeply Rooted

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    :frow Welcome tio the forum! :frow Glad you joined us! :frow

    I've never seen anything like that. It's kind of surprising that it is every one if you have 40 plants. Usually pests are not that consistent. Are you sure it is not some type of disease, though I could not find any disease that acts like that either. It's the consistency that has me wondering if it is a pest. I can imagine some type of beetle doing that, but all 40 plants?

    I'm not sure where you are but if you are in the US, you can try calling your county extension agent and asking them. They should be in the phone book under county government. The agent should have access to experts at your State Land Grant university that might be able to help you.

    Good luck.
  4. Jun 2, 2012
    Chickie'sMomaInNH

    Chickie'sMomaInNH Deeply Rooted

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    could a cut worm do this damage to a strawberry plant? i know they like seedlings and soft parts of the stems on plants.
  5. Jun 2, 2012
    lesa

    lesa Garden Addicted

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    Interesting problem... I have seen this happen with my apple tree. For no apparent reason, unripe apples will just fall to the ground. I have never seen this happen with strawberries... I think the mouse trap is a good idea - just to get an idea if you do have a rodent problem. Here's hoping you get some delicious strawberries!
  6. Jun 2, 2012
    flattop

    flattop Sprout

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    Thanks for all those replies. I will try a live trap but I don't know what a victor trap is, I am afraid. My neighbour has the same problem outdoors and is going to try a sticky trap. I'l let you know if we get the beasty!
  7. Jun 2, 2012
    momofdrew

    momofdrew Deeply Rooted

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    Tis a puzzlement....usually fruit drop is because they didnt develop well due to lack of nutients..
  8. Jun 2, 2012
    retiredwith4acres

    retiredwith4acres Attractive To Bees

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    Well, I got lots of berries but before I had finished with them something got into mine and wiped them completely out. We were gone for 4 days and my mother picked once during that time but within two days of returning home most all berries, ripe and green had disappeared. I had concluded that it was a rodent that had gotten into the bed. It was a very thick raised bed and could some some areas that looked as something had crawled through. I figured a vole or chipmunk had been the culprit. It could have been a raccoon or opossum but I feel there would have been more evidence with the plants down with something that big. Good luck finding the mean old robber.
  9. Jun 2, 2012
    so lucky

    so lucky Garden Addicted

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    If you all have had particularly dry weather, I would think maybe critters that don't normally bother strawberries would seek them for their moisture content. But I don't have a clue either on the bitten off stems. Maybe time for a game cam!

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