Yellow leaves on strawberry plants can be caused by a lack of nitrogen, overwatering or pest attack. To help the strawberry plants recover prune off old yellow leaves, give it a feed of liquid nitrogen fertilizer, add pelleted chicken manure and move it to a sunny position. Check for aphids or scale and treat them with neem oil.
Yellow leaves on strawberry plants can be easily fixed once you figure out the cause. This article will explore the top causes of yellow leaves on strawberry plants and what to do to fix it.
Top causes of leaves turning yellow on strawberry plants
Here are the top reasons why leaves turn yellow on strawberry plants. Check out each one and see if this might be the cause of the problem for your strawberry.
1. Lack of nitrogen
Strawberry plants that lack nitrogen can end up with yellow leaves. For a strawberries planted out in a garden bed, give them a dose of diluted liquid nitrogen fertilizer every 2 weeks over Spring. Add a few handfuls of pelleted chicken manure around the plant for longer lasting nitrogen.
When planting out a new strawberry plant, prepare the soil with compost and aged cow manure.
2. Old leaves
Old strawberry leaves will turn yellow once they have finished growing. This is the natural process of leaf replacement. Simply pinch these leaves off at the base of the plant. They will be more susceptible to pest attack.
Snip the leaves off with secateurs if the stems are too difficult to pinch off. This will keep the plant neat and give it more room to grow new leaves.
Overwatering can cause strawberry leaves to turn yellow. Excess water will wash away nutrients particularly nitrogen from the roots. Nitrogen is easily washed out of the soil and is essential for the green leaf color. Nitrogen is connected to the development of chlorophyll in the leaves which help to support photosynthesis.
Mulch the plant with bark mulch or straw which will help to regulate the water added to strawberry. Bark mulch will absorb extra water and slowly release it over time. Slow down your watering schedule and allow time in-between watering for the soil to dry out slightly.
Overwatering is more likely to happen to potted strawberry plants. Make sure they are not sitting in a tray of water as their roots can become too wet and rot. This will stop them from absorbing the nutrients they need and the leaves can turn yellow.
4. Aphids or scale
Pest attack can be the cause of yellow or damaged leaves on strawberry plants. Sap sucking insects such as scale or aphids can damage the plant, reducing the amount of water and nutrients available. This can turn the leaves yellow.
You can usually notice spots on the leaves which turn yellow and brown. Look out for tiny green aphids or brown scale that hide near the leaf stems.
Scale bugs are small beetle shaped insects which will suck the sap from your strawberry plant. Scale can be treated with eco oil and should be dealt with as the sap they produce can attract ants. I like to spray the bugs with a strong jet of water from my hose to see if I can remove them before treating with oil.
Small green aphids can attack strawberry plants sucking their sap and causing leaves to turn yellow. These insects will attack new growth and can appear quickly in spring and fall.
Ladybugs will move in to eat the aphids but you may need use horticultural Neem oil to address the problem. Aphids can cause damage to young strawberry plants so deal with them quickly.
5. Lack of water
Underwatering can cause your strawberry leaves to turn yellow. Strawberry plants growing in sandy soil can dry out quickly. Very hot weather can dry strawberries grown in full sun quickly causing the leaves to turn yellow and then brown.
Regularly water your strawberry plants, particularly in the warmer months. Check the soil over winter too if you have low rainfall to make sure that the roots and soil are moist.
Consistent water will help to prevent yellowing leaves on strawberry plants over spring and summer.
What to do when strawberry leaves turn yellow
Here are the 3 easy steps to follow if your strawberry leaves turn yellow.
1. Check the soil and water it well
Stick your finger 1-2 inches below the surface of the soil to check the moisture level. Water it deeply and allow it to dry out between watering. If the soil is too wet, add mulch and allow 2-3 days for the strawberry to dry out.
2. Liquid feed with nitrogen fertilizer
Add dilute liquid fertilizer to the strawberry plant to give it a nitrogen boost. Give it a feed of pelleted chicken manure and water it in well.
3. Trim off yellow and brown leaves
Once you have taken these steps trim off old and damaged leaves with sharp secateurs. This will tidy up the strawberry plant and make room for new, green leaves.
Yellow leaves on strawberry plants | Summary
Yellow leaves on strawberry plant can be trimmed off once the cause is identified and solved. Use sharp secateurs to remove the yellow and dying leaves and stems. Strawberry plants are hardy and will recover once they are given the nutrients and water they need.
Strawberry plants can struggle whey they are transplanted from a pot to the ground. Over winter the strawberry plant will slow its growth and the outer leaves can turn yellow and then brown. The plant will recover when the weather warms in spring and will grow new, green leaves.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.