Something’s not right.

You check on the strawberry plants every day. And each day, more leaves seem to turn red.

What could be the problem, you think?

Will it harm your strawberry plant? Will you fail to get a good strawberry harvest?

Your strawberry leaves are turning red because some fungal infection affects them causing them to die. Leaves may turn red due to strawberry nutrient deficiency such as lack of nitrogen, phosphorus or because the leaves are getting old.

It can seem daunting to figure out what could be the problem.

But don’t worry. Read through the post below and you’ll figure out what’s causing your strawberry leaves turning red.

Entire leaf turns redCold weather
Nitrogen deficiency
pH imbalance
Plant is old
Reddish purple lesionsLeaf spot disease
Leaf scorch disease
Leaf tips and edges turning redPhosphorus deficiency

1. Cold weather is affecting the plant

Strawberry plants are hardy and deal well with some fluctuations in the temperature. But if you find strawberry plant leaves turning red, the weather might be too cold for them.

This can happen because of late frosts or unexpected drop in temperatures during the spring. The reason strawberry plant leaves are turning red because of cold weather is a change in pigment.

This may happen to plants that you just transplanted or those that are young enough to get affected by the cold weather.

I would suggest only planting strawberry plants after the last frost date of your location has passed. If there’s a sudden drop in temperature, use a row cover to keep the plant protected.

If you’re growing strawberry plants in pots, bring them indoors to a warm location such as the basement or garage until the weather is back to normal.

2. Leaf scorch causing leaves to turn red

Leaf scorch is a fungal disease that causes red and purple lesions on the strawberry leaves. The leaves will begin to dry and curl at the edges.

You’ll need to get rid of the fungal disease by using some fungicide. You can try a neem oil spray that you apply for a few weeks. If that does not work, you’ll need to try some chemical options. Remove the affected leaves and apply the fungicide.

For chemical options, apply a 1% solution of the Bordeaux mixture or a 2% solution of copper sulfate. Another option is to use Captan 50W fungicide to prevent fungal diseases.

I would recommend you prevent humid conditions near the strawberry plants to avoid fungal diseases like leaf scorch. Don’t splash water on the foliage when watering the plants, but only water near the base. Prune the plant so there is sufficient airflow through the leaves.

3. Leaf spot disease is infecting the leaves

Leaf spot is another fungal disease affecting strawberry plants and causing leaves to turn red. If you see small dead spots that are red or purple on the leaves, chances are it’s due to leaf spot. The spots will keep growing and eventually kill the leaves.

The fungus will not cause issues when it has just started affecting the leaves. But slowly it will increase and leaves will start falling off.

You need to trim the badly infected leaves once this issue starts on the plant. Use an organic or chemical fungicide to get rid of the fungus.

For chemical options, apply a 1% solution of the Bordeaux mixture or a 2% solution of copper sulfate. Another option is to use Captan 50W fungicide to prevent fungal diseases.

Prevent the fungus from reoccurring by keeping the area near the plants clear of any debris. Avoid overwatering or splashing water on the foliage.

Trim excess leaves and branches for better plant airflow and to prevent fungal diseases.

There are some resistant varieties of strawberries you can grow, such as Ogallala, Ozark Beauty, and Earliglow.

4. pH imbalance is present in the soil

Strawberry plants need slightly acidic soil to grow well. If the pH becomes too acidic or alkaline, it will cause issues. One symptom would be the leaves turning red.

You can find the pH of the soil using a soil testing kit or sending soil samples to a local extension service. They will test the soil for a minimal fee.

You need soil with a pH between 5.5 to 6.5 to grow strawberry plants. If the pH is below 5.5, the soil is too acidic. You can amend it and raise soil pH by adding limestone, wood ash, or bone meal to the soil. If the pH is above 6.5, the soil is too alkaline. You can reduce soil pH by adding sulfur.

I would also suggest adding compost every month to the soil as it helps keep the pH in balance.

5. Soil has phosphorus deficiency turning leaves red

If you notice the strawberry leaves turning reddish purple on the tips or strawberry leaves turning red at edges, it’s a sign that the plant lacks phosphorus. This may happen if the pH of the soil is not at the needed level between 5.5 to 6.5 so the plant can’t absorb needed phosphorus.

The phosphorus deficiency is bad because not just the leaves, but the yield will be affected. There will be a lack of flowering and fruits on the plant. And there’s a higher risk of plant diseases and stunted growth of the plant.

Check the soil pH to make sure that’s not the source of the phosphorus deficiency. If the pH is not between 5.5 or 6.5 make the amendment as I suggested above.

If the soil is too acidic, improve it by adding limestone to raise pH levels. If the soil is too alkaline, add sulfur to lower pH levels.

If the soil pH is fine but still there is a phosphorus deficiency, you need to add phosphorus rich fertilizer to the soil. Some options are blood meal, bone meal, and rock phosphate.

6. Nitrogen deficiency is turning leaves red

Nitrogen-deficient soils can cause strawberries to have yellow leaves before they turn red. With strawberry nitrogen deficiency, their leaves will appear more yellow overall, rather than just at the margins. Unlike a disease, the discoloration will not be spotty or infected.

Nitrogen is important for promoting healthy growth in strawberry foliage. For healthy strawberries, apply diluted fish emulsion weekly during flowering and fruiting. Be careful not to overuse nitrogen in the spring leaf phase or you’ll end up with too many leaves and not enough berries.

I would suggest to choose a slow-release organic fertilizer, such as high-quality compost or an all-purpose blend.

Some organic options to improve soil nitrogen are chicken manure, cow manure, fish emulsion, blood meal, feather meal, and seaweed extract.

7. Strawberry plant has become old

Strawberry plants produce anthocyanins at the end of the growing season. If you find strawberry leaves turning red and yellow, it may be because the plant has become old.

During this time, the plant redistributes its nutrients from the leaves to the roots to store them for the winter.

To ensure the health of your strawberry plants, there are a few steps you can take. First, after the first hard freeze, remove any dead debris from the plants. Then, apply a generous amount of straw mulch to insulate the crowns throughout the winter.

How to keep strawberry leaves from turning red?

Keep your strawberry plants healthy with good soil, fertilizer, and water to avoid red leaves.

Start by ensuring that the soil is rich and well-drained, with a slightly acidic pH between 5.5 and 6.5. This will create an optimal growing environment for your plants.

IA slow-release organic fertilizer with balanced nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus is a good choice. These nutrients are essential for healthy leaf growth and vibrant green color.

Avoid overhead irrigation as it can increase the risk of disease. Instead, opt for drip irrigation or watering at the base of the plants.

Should you cut the red strawberry leaves?

You should cut the red strawberry leaves if the problem is caused due to a fungal disease. This can protect the other leaves from getting infected.

Here are some reasons why cutting off red strawberry leaves is necessary:

– Disease prevention: Removing diseased leaves helps stop the spread of pathogens to other plants in your strawberry patch.

– Enhanced plant health: By removing infected leaves, you promote the overall health and vigor of your strawberry plants.

– Increased fruit yields: Removing red leaves caused by disease can improve fruit production and ensure a bountiful harvest.

– Preventive measures: Removing red leaves is a preventive measure to avoid potential plant diseases and their detrimental effects on growth and development.

– Sanitation: Proper sanitation practices, such as removing diseased leaves, help maintain a clean and healthy growing environment for your strawberry plants.

Why are strawberry stems turning red?

Strawberry stems are turning red because of the genetics of the plant you may have. Such red stems are normal and you don’t have to worry about any disease causing this change in color. The green color in the stems are due to more chlorophyll in some plants than others.

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