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Weed Management in Strawberry1

Peter Dittmar, Nathan Boyd, and William Stall 2

Strawberries are produced in Florida on the annual hill system instead of the matted row system that is used in the more northern states. Because the production scheme is more closely related to other vegetables in Florida instead of the more perennial fruit crops, the strawberry is handled as a vegetable.

Florida's strawberry production was greater than 5,000 acres each year between 1990 and 2010. In 2011, Florida grew strawberry on 9,900. The production season is spread over 6–7 months, and the weed species present in the field change during that time. No herbicide could be expected to suppress weeds for the entire strawberry production season. A combination of weed control methods is needed.

Broad-spectrum fumigants at rates that control weeds, when used in combination with plastic mulch, greatly enhance weed, nematode, and soilborne disease control. Weeds can grow in the plant holes. Hand weeding along with herbicides can assist in alleviating this problem.

Weeds growing in the nonmulched row middles may be controlled through cultivation and herbicides. A hay or straw mulch placed between the plastic-covered beds also can assist in weed control, and it helps keep soil from splashing up onto the bed during rains, irrigation, and harvest traffic. One should take care not to bring in more problem weed seeds with the straw mulch.

Herbicides must be applied at exactly the correct rate and time to selectively control weed growth pretransplant (Table 1) and posttransplant (Table 2). Obtain consistent results by reading the herbicide label and other information about the proper application and timing of each herbicide. Herbicides applied to the row middles incorrectly may be absorbed by strawberry roots growing in the row middles, or the herbicide may move laterally under the plant bed with the soil water.

Read and follow the label.

Figure 1. Carolina geranium and black medic growing in strawberry plant holes.
Figure 1.  Carolina geranium and black medic growing in strawberry plant holes.
Credit: Peter Dittmar, UF/IFAS

Tables

Table 1. 

Pretransplant chemical weed control in strawberry.

Table 2. 

Posttransplant chemical weed control in strawberry.

Table 3. 

Postharvest weed control in strawberry.

Footnotes

1. This document is HS196, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 1999. Revised July 2016. Reviewed January 2020. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.
2. Peter Dittmar, assistant professor; Nathan Boyd, professor; and William Stall, emeritus professor, Horticultural Sciences Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. It is not a guarantee or warranty of the products named, and does not signify that they are approved to the exclusion of others of suitable composition.

Publication #HS196

Date: 1/22/2020

    Management

    Contacts

    • Nathan Boyd
    • Peter Dittmar