How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
(Reviewed 6/08, updated 6/08)
In this Guideline:
reduce management costs, select fields with desirable characteristics and a
minimum of potential pest problems.
well‑drained, sandy loam soils are preferred for strawberry production
because field preparation is easier, fumigation is more effective, accumulation
of salts is less, drainage is better, and the soil is better suited to the
frequent irrigation and field activity that strawberries require.
fields that are easy to grade to the proper slope and have good air drainage so
cold air doesn't settle in the field.
poorly drained soils to minimize problems with root diseases such as
Phytophthora root and crown rot.
fields infested with hard‑to‑control weeds such as field bindweed,
nutsedge, mallow, and clovers.
an adequate supply of good‑quality water. Make sure that soil and field
conditions allow you to maximize use of available water to grow strawberries.
the soil and water tested for salts and salinity. If the water supply has more
than 900 to 1000 ppm total salts, special precautions will be needed to avoid
injurious salt buildup. If salt levels are too high you may want to avoid
planting strawberries or else plan extra irrigations to rinse excess salts away
from the strawberry root zone. Irrigations to reduce soil salinity are best
done before preparing fields for fumigation and planting and can take years to
improve conditions measurably.
the soil tested for problems with boron and zinc.
to be sure herbicides with long residual life were not used on the previous
Anaccurate field history will help you evaluate the effectiveness of management
actions and make long‑term planning easier. (It may be useful to organize
information in a spreadsheet, combining all data from a given field for several
years in a single document.) For each field, keep records of:
field surveys, including dates and GPS locations;
- Weed surveys;
- Results of laboratory analyses such as soil tests, water tests, and pest
information, including cultivars, planting dates, source of transplants,
harvest dates, and yields;
- Records of pesticide applications, including materials and rates, and their
you begin preparing your fields for planting, a number of monitoring activities
are important in helping you plan your pest management program for the season.
field records for cropping history, cultural practices, pesticide use, and
problems with pests, soil conditions, and salinity. Check plant-back
restrictions from herbicides used in the previous crop.
- Survey the field for
weeds and record your results (example
You may want to avoid planting strawberries if infestations of field bindweed
or yellow nutsedge or high densities of little mallow or burclover are present.
samples of irrigation water and field soil for analysis of salinity, nutrient
levels, and microbial contaminants.
adjacent areas for pests that may move into strawberries: for example,
infestations of twospotted spider mites, whiteflies, cutworms, or armyworms; weed
hosts of lygus bugs; potential sources of root weevils; weeds with wind-dispersed seed; signs
of vertebrates such as ground
squirrels, gophers, voles, or moles.
possible, visit nurseries where you plan to get your transplants to learn about
their pest control programs and management practices.
strawberries with a cover crop such as rye, barley, or a mix of barley and bell
beans may enhance pest control and helps improve soil structure. A heavy stand
of cereal rye or barley provides additional weed control because these crops
are very competitive with weeds and broadleaf herbicides may be used to control
weeds that can be serious problems in strawberries. In addition, rye and barley
do not host pests that attack strawberries and can help reduce root knot
nematode populations and soil levels of Verticillium, although
significant disease control requires long-term rotations.
generally are the best weed competitors among commonly used cover crops, and
their residue breaks down faster compared to cereals. Additionally, mulched
mustard residue reduces viability of Phytophthora in the
with vegetable crops may allow additional weed control options and provide
economic returns. Incorporation of broccoli residues may reduce levels of soil
pathogens including Verticillium. Winter vegetable operations can result in soil
compaction and deterioration of soil structure. Incorporation of cover crop
residue loosens the soil and can help improve soil drainage. Be sure to allow
enough time for the cover crop to decompose before preparing the field for
use of soil amendments can improve soil structure and drainage.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines:
UC ANR Publication
M. P. Bolda, UC Cooperative Extension Santa Cruz County
O. Daugovish, UC Cooperative Extension Ventura County
S. T. Koike, UC Cooperative Extension Monterey County
K. D. Larson, Pomology, South Coast Res. and Ext. Ctr.
P. A. Phillips, UC IPM Program/UC Cooperative Extension Ventura County
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