- Author: Mark Bolda
I had a brief chat concerning albino strawberry fruit this morning. Maybe it shouldn't be surprising that I get a call concerning this disorder since it has been rather cool and cloudy for close to a week.
Anyway, as one can see from the picture of some albino fruit off of Diamante strawberry (it's from a few years ago), the fruit takes on a pale whitish color, with just a bit of red around each achene. The lack of ripe red color comes from an inadequate supply of sugar during maturation, and indeed such fruit are insipid and tasteless.
On the Central Coast, strawberry fruit albinism tends to come in fields experiencing heavy nitrogen fertility or really frequent irrigation during an overcast period on the heels of a spell of sunny and fairly warm weather. The symptoms might be exacerbated in the shadier parts of the plant canopy, and the literature says it shows up more in closely spaced plantings.
So in order to minimize the occurrence of albino fruit, especially during a stretch of overcast conditions following warm weather, one would want to be a little more reticent about nitrogen and water use. Regardless, a change in the weather, i.e. from overcast conditions back to warm sunny weather such as we are experiencing today, is going to go miles in clearing up a spate of albino fruit.
Hat tip to the PCA for bringing this up with me. It's always great to be in touch with the experts out in the field looking at this stuff day in and day out and figuring through these problems.