Strawberry Cold Damage, How to Check Crowns
This post will walk you through how to identify cold damage to strawberry crowns.
Strawberry crowns are damaged when temperatures drop below about 10° F. Symptoms of cold damage include burnt dead ends of leaves and internal browning of the strawberry crown. (Remember more reddish browning to the inside of the crown is more indicative of disease not, cold damage) After low temperatures of 4 F or lower in some parts of the state I have seen damage in a few parts of the state.
What effect damage will have is dependent on the severity of the damage, what part of the crown was effected (pith or cambium) and if the plant has the resources to recover.
In the picture below it appears that the pith (center part of the crown) was damaged which is less serious damage, it is likely this plant will recover.
In the video it appears to me that the cambium was damaged (see the darker outline at the bottom of the crown). The cambium is the plumbing for the plant. Damage to this part of the crown is more serious--but does not mean you have lost the crop.
Recovery is likely dependent on the size and health of the plants. The plant in the video is very small and likely would not have recovered and would have died.
I will cut another crown out of this planting in a few weeks to check to see if the cambium is recovering.
In both cases even if the plants recover, there is still likely to be some loss of yield. Keeping the crop healthy and well fed once it wakes up in the spring is likely the best response after freeze injury.
Here is a short video to show you how to check for damage and some pictures of what damage looks like.
No Cold Damage ( notice uniform creamy white color in the crown)
Cold Damage, ( notice darkening of the crown near the top vs creamy white color at the bottom)