How to Tell if Your Strawberry Plant is Overwatered and What to Do

Strawberries require the proper amount of water to thrive. How can you tell if your plant is overwatered and what can you do about it?

Strawberries have a better chance of resisting illnesses and pests if they are cared for correctly. The key to achieving that is to supply the appropriate amount of moisture. Strawberries tend to dry up quickly because they are shallow-rooted plants with roots predominantly located in the top three inches of soil. If your area receives 1 to 1.5 inches of rain each week, you probably won’t need to water the plant unless it is fruiting.

Continue reading to learn more about the effects of overwatering strawberry plants.

Why Overwatering is Harmful

Overwatering strawberry plants for an extended period will cause the roots to rot and turn black. As a result, the crop will yield fewer fruits and have a shorter lifespan. Plants are often stunted and wilted due to black root rot. It’s unlikely that these plants will recover.

As the infection progresses, the leaves begin to turn brown and decay from the edges inward. The weakened plants will produce few runners and smaller fruits, eventually wilt and die.

green leaves with tiny water drops

Signs and Symptoms

Soggy Soil

When the soil’s surface is constantly wet, it alters the balance of soil bacteria, potentially repelling beneficial worms. While strawberries prefer moist soil, excessive moisture can damage the roots, making it harder for the plant to receive the nutrients it needs.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing and sagging leaves indicate that the soil’s excess water absorbs water-soluble nitrogen, a major component of chlorophyll. As a result, the plant does not get the proper nutrients to produce green leaves.

leaves of strawberry plant starting to rot

Wilting Crops

Lack of oxygen causes root rot, which harms plant growth. The plant cannot grow healthy leaves, stems, or fruits unless it has healthy roots. Even with abundant water or fertilizer, damaged roots cannot transport it into the plant.

Moldy Soil

The presence of green or white mold suggests that the soil is constantly wet or that the roots are rotting. The decaying plant and moisture make the area ideal for mold to grow. Toadstools or mushrooms can also sprout from the moist ground.

bright red strawberry in the garden

How to Fix It

Overwatering isn’t the worst problem for a strawberry plant. To avoid problems, place your plants in well-drained locations and give them optimal growing conditions.

There are several ways to save a plant suffering from excessive moisture. If you want to save your strawberry crops, reduce the water it receives, especially during the winter. Move container plants to a sunny spot to aid in the drying process.

Another way is to apply a small amount of liquid nitrogen fertilizer to the soil. Mulch also aids in moisture regulation. Remove damaged roots, leaves, and stems from the plant before mulching with straw.

Strawberry plants can be saved by repotting badly damaged plants with new potting soil. Remember that the amount of water a plant needs also depends on the quality and type of soil and the amount of sunlight it receives.

Phillis Butler
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