The quality of produce after it leaves the field should be high on any grower’s checklist. These common diseases often start in the field or packinghouse, so practices to help reduce conditions that lead to disease spread are important.
1. Botrytis blight (gray mold) of strawberry and other soft fruits caused by Botrytis cinerea
This disease produces gray nests of mold and fruit particularly if fruit aren’t refrigerated. It commonly occurs on fruit blossoms or newly set fruit after frost damage. In strawberry plantings, gray mold colonizes drying flower petals, then grows into developing fruit and becomes quiescent until fruit ripen or suffer frost injury. Treatment of crops at peak-bloom periods with labeled fungicides provides good control, but often prompt refrigeration after harvest is necessary to prevent gray mold development in clamshells during marketing.