There’s nothing like going into your backyard and looking over your thriving vibrant red strawberries attached to their lush green leaves. Unfortunately, during one of those visits, you might find that your strawberry leaves are turning brown.
This could happen due to various reasons, including a certain fungal disease infecting your garden or an issue with your watering schedule.
Stick around to learn more about why your strawberry leaves are turning brown and what you can do about it.
The Great Thing About Growing Strawberries
Strawberries are a fan favorite because of their sweet taste and captivating fragrance. Many have grown to relish its distinct tangy taste, whether alone, in a drink, or a cake recipe.
With the growing popularity of the juicy fruit, it’s no wonder several people want to grow them in their backyard.
Under the right growing conditions, strawberries can produce fruit that’ll become a staple for the warmer months of the year.
Many people also like to grow strawberries because they can thrive in a fairly small space. They are hardy enough to grow in small garden patches, pots, and planter boxes.
They can even be grown inside your home. So, even if you don’t have much garden space or live in an apartment, you can still participate in some strawberry farming.
In terms of quantity, if you have around twenty-five thriving strawberry plants, you can have fruit for an entire family without any problem.
Why Do the Leaves Turn Brown and What Can You Do?
You’ve grown a couple of strawberry plants, and they seem to be healthy. After some time, you’ve observed signs of browning leaves.
Identifying why your leaves are yellowing or browning will provide you with the best way to treat the root cause of the problem.
There are multiple reasons why your strawberry leaves are turning brown or going yellow, including:
1. Watering Issues
You could be doing everything right, like using the right fertilizer and planting them at the right time of year. Nevertheless, if you’re not watering them at the right time, your leaves can turn brown.
You may be overwatering the plants. Fortunately, you can easily avoid this common issue by inspecting the soil around the plants. If the soil is waterlogged most of the time, you’re likely overwatering them.
Meanwhile, if the soil is too dry between watering sessions, you’re not watering them enough.
When it’s hot outside, it’s best to water the strawberries either before 10 AM or after 5 PM. It’ll avoid the heat of the day and ensure that the strawberry plants will absorb the water without it evaporating.
As a general rule, the soil should be damp but not too dry or too wet. You can apply this method to most other plants too.
2. Nitrogen Deficiency
You might be watering the strawberry plants correctly but still find that the leaves are turning yellow or brown. This can be an indication of a nitrogen deficiency in the soil.
It often occurs in areas that have been over-planted or in soil that naturally lacks the element.
The best way to remedy this is to invest in a good fertilizer (view on Amazon). It’ll add nitrogen and other essential elements to promote growth in the soil.
One of the most damaging issues that affect most plants is disease. Many diseases can affect plant growth, and strawberries are no different.
Here are some of the most common diseases that can affect strawberries and result in yellow or brown leaves:
This is a common fungal disease that usually appears as purple or gray patches on the leaves. It can come from infected strawberries entering your garden through airborne spores.
Leaf Spot can also spread through splashing rain and sprinklers. The good news is that you can buy varieties of strawberries that are resistant to the disease.
This disease affects the crown and the root of the plant and appears as browning at the edges of the leaves. The fungal soil-borne infection most often affects strawberry plants in their first year.
Fortunately, there are disease-resistant varieties (like this Sequoia Strawberry at Nature Hills Nursery) of the strawberry plant.
This is another fungal disease that appears as circular brown spots on the leaves with reddish-purple patches near the edges.
You can control the spread of this disease by watering at times during the day when the soil will dry out before night. Plus, you’ll want to use a fungicide and prune infected leaves.
Some strawberry plants are already infected with leaf scorch, so you should always inspect them before buying.
The leaves will turn brown and fall off from this disease, hence the name. You can usually identify leaf scorch by the purple, red, or yellow spots on the leaves or other parts of the plant.
It’s caused by limited water circulation of a strawberry tree, particularly during dry weather.
4. Poor Soil Drainage
Soil drainage helps remove the excess water from your plant during watering sessions. A lack of it can turn your strawberry leaves brown or yellow. It causes a lack of airflow and often results in waterlogged soil.
Using a correct soil drainage container can save you from excess moisture. Make sure that you empty the saucers underneath each pot to remove the water as well.
Caring for Your Strawberry Plants
If you’ve invested in strawberry plants, you need to take care of them so that the chances of disease or other leaf-browning problems are minimized.
Mulch Your Plant
Once you’ve planted them, mulching with a good mix of pine needles, compost, straw, or shredded leaves will provide good shade from the sun and increase the acidity of the soil. An acidic soil mix with enough nitrogen is ideal for growing strawberries.
Water at the Right Time
Watering strawberries can be tricky. Strawberries need a moist environment for ideal growth because of their short roots, but they certainly shouldn’t be over-watered. Otherwise, this can encourage disease growth and browning leaves.
Ensure Proper Soil Drainage
One important element that your strawberries will need is soil that has adequate drainage. Overly wet soil will lead to root-rotting fungal diseases.
You’ll also need a good fertilizer at regular intervals. If you’re unsure what kind of fertilizer to buy or when to use it, always refer to a garden center and its employees’ expertise.
Get Enough Sunlight
Strawberry plants thrive best in direct sunlight. They need at least six to eight hours of it each day. Your plant will appreciate more hours as well, reaching up to ten. The more exposure it gets, the more fruit your plants will bear.
Many people love strawberry plants for their simplicity, size, and fruit. The right soil conditions can lead to sweet strawberries that can sustain an entire family through a season.
Just make sure that you identify the possible causes of brown or yellowing leaves. Those can include various diseases, over- or under-watering, and deficiency of certain nutrients in the soil, such as nitrogen.
The good news is that most of these issues can be managed or fixed.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.