Problem: Gray Mold (Strawberries)
Gray mold is caused by a fungus (Botrytis cinerea). It is the most damaging rot of strawberries, attacking both flowers and berries, and greatly reduces the amount of edible fruit. The flowers are infected when in bloom and may not produce berries. Berries are attacked at all stages of development. They are infected directly when a healthy berry touches a decaying one, the ground, or a dead leaf. Infected berries are inedible. The fuzzy gray mold on the berries is composed of fungal strands and millions of microscopic spores. The fungus is most active in cool, humid weather and is spread by splashing water, people, or infected fruit. Crowded plantings, rain, and overhead watering enhance its spread.
Destroy infected fruit. Use soaker or drip hoses. Mulch with straw, pine needles, or other material to keep fruit off the ground, and pick berries as they ripen. To help prevent infection the following year, remove and destroy plant debris in the fall. When setting out new plants, provide enough space between plants to allow for good air circulation.