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Leaf Tipburn of Greenhouse Strawberries

Wed, Feb 19th, 2020, created by Neil Mattson
Acommon nutrient disorder in greenhouse strawberry production during the winteris leaf tipburn due to a calcium deficiency. The symptoms include marginalnecrosis (leaf-edge browning) which may work its way further into the leaf aswell as cause leaf crinkling. The calyx of strawberry fruit (i.e. the greenleaf-life sepals that surround the base of the fruit) may also be affected andthis is called calyx burn. In Tipburn and calyx burn the problems areinsufficient supply of calcium while the organs were developing (i.e. justbefore the leaves/flowers emerge from the crown). Most often the problem is notdue to lack of sufficient calcium supply in the root-zone/fertilizer but environmentalfactors that impair calcium uptake by the plant. Calcium uptake relies onactive plant transpiration and conditions that reduce transpiration (such as toohigh or too low humidity, excessively wet or dry root-zone, high root-zone EC,or poor root development) can limit calcium uptake. In this case of this photo,the strawberry plants were grown in a heated greenhouse in winter with relativehumidity quite low during heating. The dry conditions cause high transpirationto mature leaves but limited calcium supply to the growing tip causing the characteristicmarginal necrosis. Research from the University of Arizona found thatmaintaining relative humidity within the canopy to be 95% for 3 hours duringthe nighttime greatly reduced tipburn symptoms. For more information see:

About the Author:

Neil Mattson

Associate professor and greenhouse extension specialist, Cornell University

Neil Mattson is an Associate Professor and Greenhouse Extension Specialist at Cornell University. He has an appointment in research, extension, and teaching. He researchers strategies to optimize floriculture and vegetable crop production while reducing energy, fertilizer, and water resources. He directs Cornell’s Controlled Environment Agriculture group which develops lighting and greenhouse control strategies to maximize hydroponic vegetable production.

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