If you have a garden in your backyard, nothing tells you that it’s thriving more than the appearance of bright red strawberries. When strawberries are red and the leaves are green, this is a good indication that you’re doing something right.
Unfortunately, many people also find that their strawberry leaves are turning brown and this is when something needs to be done.
The Great Thing About Growing Strawberries
Strawberries are a great plant to grow because they remind so many people of growing up at home. Under the right growing conditions, strawberries will produce fruit that can 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. This means that even people without much of a garden can grow some strawberries and enjoy their fruits when ripe.
In fact, 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?
If you’ve planted strawberries and they seem to have been doing well, leaves that are turning brown are an indication that something is not right. As with all other plants, strawberry plants need the right conditions to thrive in.
Identifying why your leaves are yellowing or browning will also 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 might have planted your strawberry seeds at the right time of year and fed them with fertilizer but leaves can turn brown because you’re not watering at the right time.
When it’s hot outside, it’s best to water the strawberries either before 10 am or after 5 pm. This avoids the heat of the day and ensures that the strawberry plants will take up water without it evaporating.
You may also be overwatering the plants too. The best way to ensure that you don’t do this is to keep a check on the soil around the plants. If the soil is waterlogged most of the time, you are likely watering them too much.
If the soil is too dry in between watering sessions, you’re not watering them enough. 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 also be an indication of a nitrogen deficiency in the soil.
This often occurs in areas that have been over-planted or in soil that naturally lacks this element.
The best way to remedy this is to invest in a good fertilizer (view on amazon). This will add nitrogen and other essential elements for growth back into the soil.
Perhaps one of the most pernicious issues that affect most plants is disease. There are many diseases that 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:
- Leaf Spot: This is a rather common fungal disease that usually appears as purple or gray patches on the leaves. The problem is that this disease lives in the soil and can affect all strawberry plants in the area and any subsequent plants. The good news is that you can buy varieties of strawberry that are resistant to the disease.
- Verticillium Wilt: This disease affects the crown and the root of the plant and appears as browning at the edges of the leaves. It most often affects strawberry plants in their first year. There are also disease-resistant varieties (like this Sequoia Strawberry at Nature Hills Nursery) of the strawberry plant.
- Leaf Blight: This is another fungal disease that appears as circular brown spots on the leaves with a reddish-purple border. You can control the spread of this disease by watering at times during the day when the soil will dry out before night.
- Leaf Scorch: 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 as a result of this disease, hence the name. You can usually identify leaf scorch by the purple, red, or yellow spots that are on the leaves or other parts of the plant.
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 is minimized.
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 will also increase the acidity of the soil. An acidic soil mix with enough nitrogen is ideal for growing strawberries.
Watering strawberries can be tricky. Strawberries need a moist environment for ideal growth but they certainly should not be over-watered as this can encourage disease growth and browning leaves.
One important element that your strawberries will need is soil that has good drainage as soil that is too wet will lead to rotting of the roots.
You’ll also need a good fertilizer at regular intervals. If you’re unsure of what kind of fertilizer to buy or when to use it, always refer to a garden center and their expertise.
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, such as 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.