- Good soil moisture must be maintained in June bearing strawberries to ensure maximum branch crown and flower bud formation for next year’s production.
- Old weeds should be removed this month. Reducing the amount of foliage and trash will facilitate proper placement of herbicides later this or next month. Cultivation between rows to eliminate weeds, incorporation of straw and aeration of the soil should also be done.
- Day-neutral strawberry producers often find irrigation for frost protection beneficial during fall months. Very often producers experience 1 or 2 frosty nights in late August-September followed by weeks of warmer fall weather.
- Frost protection has proved invaluable during this brief period.
- Water releases heat as it freezes on the plant, thereby keeping the plant parts above freezing. Protection can be obtained down to approximately -6.6 C. At temperatures of -1 C at plant level frost may cause slight injury to open flowers. Medium injury may occur to open flowers at temperatures of -2 C. Producers should have accurate thermometers stationed throughout their field, especially in lower areas.
- Irrigation should commence when temperatures at ground level reach +1 C. Ice may not form immediately. Ice formation of 1 cm in thickness may form without serious damage to the plants. Irrigation should continue until the ice melts off the plants. A thermometer in the field at ground level in a location not frost protected may assist in determining field temperature.
- Field warming using irrigation during periods of frost is a relatively inexpensive form of insurance. Much of the year’s income can be wiped out in one chilly night. Straw mulch within the row is also a definite asset. Some producers find that fibre/fabric row covers provide 1 to 2 C frost protection.
- Do not apply 2,4-D or Lontrel in September due to flower bud initiation. September is a good time to apply Devrinol or Sinbar to control winter annuals.
- Strawberry growers should be making arrangements for obtaining clean rye or wheat straw for mulch this fall. Personally walking farmer’s fields to decide how clean - free from weeds - the straw will be might be a good idea prior to purchase.
- Stop watering or irrigation to encourage shut down and winter acclimation. Apples will continue to grow if water is available.
- Prune out spent or fruited canes, as well as weak or diseased canes.
- Reduce irrigation this month to encourage hardening.
- Consider fall herbicide applications in established plantings - some restrictions apply to certain products, such as Casoron, for example.
- Disease pruning and weeding.
- If you are planning to rejuvenate - mow-off - your orchard next spring, do not use Casoron this fall.
- Remove mature product and cool quickly to ensure maximum post-harvest life.
- Field covers can be used to protect crops from fall frosts.
- Curing of some crops - potatoes, bulb vegetables, pumpkins - can help in wound healing and post-harvest lifespan.
- Fall planting may be done for some crops - garlic, spinach, etc. Timing varies, as too late can result in winter injury and poor survival.
- Mow grass and weeds around plantings to discourage mice as well as reduce insect and disease overwintering sites.
Pest management and monitoring
- Monitor insects and control if necessary, to reduce overwintering stages.
Connect with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre:
Hours: 8 am to 5 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 310-FARM (3276)