UC Davis releases five new varieties of disease resistant strawberries

Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff
Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff

(Davis, California) -- UC Davis is releasing five new varieties of strawberries that are resistant to a soil borne disease that's gained momentum in California.

It's called Fusarium wilt and experts say it could wipe out strawberry fields across California. It's always been in the soil but has increased over time after the use of the fumigant methyl bromide was eliminated in 2005.

The five varieties of strawberries are the first release from the UC Davis Strawberry Breeding Program.

According to researchers nearly ninety percent of strawberries grown in the US come from California. Experts say Fusarium wilt is the most common cause of strawberry crop death.

Still, just over half of strawberries cultivated in the state since 2014 have not been resistant.