Hello - Both my barren strawberry and rose bush have looked bad starting...

Asked August 22, 2013, 9:19 PM EDT

Hello - Both my barren strawberry and rose bush have looked bad starting about 4-5 weeks ago. I planted the barren strawberry in spring 2008 and it covers a triangular patch about 3 by 3 feet (starting from 3 small plants). It has thrived until this year, when the leaves got splotchy and began turning yellow and then dying. (see image) It has progressively gotten worse and now affects most of the plant. It is almost full shade, and is underneath a healthy catalpa tree. The nearest plants (a hosta and epidemium) look fine (although some black-eyed Susans elsewhere in the garden have similar symptoms in terms of being splotchy). I have not used any pesticides, except to turn ladybugs loose on the garden annually to control aphids, and in the fall I mulch with catalpa leaves. Thanks for any help you can provide - Liisa Ecola

District of Columbia County District of Columbia

1 Response

Roses and other plants in the rosacea family, including your Waldsteinia fragaroides, typically produce a lot of new leaves. And, likewise, they are prone to numerous foliar problems. This is to say that your barren strawberry plants may not be dead. If you wish, you could gently lift one from the ground and examine the crown and roots. If all goes well, the plants should be able to push up new foliage in spring. Good sanitation is in order, however. When you remove the damaged/infected leaves, be careful not to damage the crown which is just at or below ground level.
If there is any consolation, you are in good company. The cool, damp spring, followed by two months of warm, humid nights and the excessive rain we have enjoyed this year have all contributed to widespread instances of fungal diseases.