strawberry image

Strawberry Diagnostic Key

Integrated Pest Management

Leaf Condition
White netted spots, Tip burn, Distorted, Exudes sap, Marginal necrosis
Leaf Color
Marginal chlorosis
Leaf Location
Fruit Condition
Fruit Size
Fruit Texture
Petioles Condition
Death, Collapse, Exudes sap
Petioles Color
Plant Size


Nutritional disorder – calcium (Ca) deficiency


Younger leaves develop tip burn and as leaves expand they become cupped and distorted. Marginal leaf yellowing can also occur with more severe deficiencies. Petioles can develop darken lesions. Fruit are smaller and have a hard texture. Root growth is also less.

Initial leaf necrosis of the newly developing leaves with calciu

Initial leaf necrosis of the newly developing leaves with calcium deficiency.

Brian E. Whipker

Initial leaf necrosis of the newly developing leaves.

Initial leaf necrosis of the newly developing leaves with calcium deficiency.

Brian E. Whipker

Leaf necrosis with calcium deficiency.

Leaf necrosis with calcium deficiency.

Brian E. Whipker

Similar Problems

Distorted leaf and fruit symptoms also occur with boron deficiency.

Additional Information

Good root systems and environmental conditions that encourage evapo-transpiration through the leaves will aid in the uptake of calcium (and boron).

Diagnostic Tips

Leaf tip burn and puckering helps to distinguish this disorder from boron deficiency which results in distorted and thicker leaves. Submit a leaf sample for nutrient analysis. The sufficiency range for calcium in strawberries is 0.5% to 1.5%. Values lower than 0.4% are considered deficient. There are no published recommendations for excessive calcium levels.

Corrective Measures

Take a soil and tissue test to determine nutrient levels. Make adjustments based on those test results and the lab’s recommendations.


Conduct a soil test prior to planting the crop to determine if pre-plant fertilizer applications are required. Fertilizer can also be injected to the crop during active growth. Recommendations vary by soil type and your location, so check with local resources for guidelines.

Funding Sources

Funding was provided in part by the National Sustainable Agriculture Program: Sustainable Strawberry Initiative and the following sources.

A thank you is also expressed to Kube Pak of Allentown, New Jersey for donating strawberry plants.

University of Arkansas logo

Walmart Foundation logo


Department of Horticulural Science
 This NC State FactSheet can be viewed and printed at
NC State Extension