New Growth on Strawberry Plants

I live in Phoenix, AZ. My strawberries are on the east side and get afternoon shade. What is causing new growth in the center to get to about one and a half inches and then turn grey - dead. Sometimes another shoot within a half inch remains strong. They looked the same a day or so before??? I keep my bushes clean and they have a light covering of pine straw. They are planted as field berries, with the plant higher and watering from both sides. I water them every other day. No water reaches the core of the plant, and no water stands. I have treated for slugs. I see a few full grown leaves with some kind of bug holes every now and again. But the new shoots are standing tall, not cut off and falling over. I remove them to prevent rot. Any ideas anyone? (I have water lillies and salvia planted here and there in the same bed/ I have no problems with them.
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There might be something here:
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/selectnewpest.strawberry.html
I would like to here more about water lilies and salvia planted in a bed, that sounds strange to me.
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The water lillies are in square holes lined with pond liner. Watering spikes keep enough water in them. They do not bloom as well on the east side as they do in the pond. Easter lillies and rain lillies are in the same bed too. I put whatever I want that will grow in that exposure, bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, etc. I planted salvia in that bed just because it stays colorful so long. (It spreads like mint and has to be cut back and pulled out every year.) Two magnolias and an Oriental orchid provide a little morning shade too. I've been experimenting in that spot for 30 yrs. this mo.
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jj wrote:

I grow strawberries in Utah. They do well here with eastern exposure full sun and heavy PM shade, but they also do well in western exposure partial sun. I cannot grow them in beds with anything else. They spread and sprawl and are unfriendly to companion plantings that are not their daughters.
I've never seen what you describe happening in your berry plants. You say this is happening to new leaf growth from the crown, but that the plants are still daughtering? Have berries come on yet?
How old are your plants, and for how long have they been in their location? They may just be old and nonbearing at this point.
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Penny, My plants have berried this season and have blossoms now. It's about half the new leaf growth that's being affected. Yes, they are still putting our runners (baby plants) although not too many right now. I don't let my berries spread. I keep them on top of a row with the plants about eighteen inches apart at the center. I 'stick' new plants until they have nice roots and then transplant them. I've been growing them for many years here, but I remove old plants about every five years or so. I find I get lots of leaves and no berries if they get older. I grew up on a strawberry farm in Louisiana, and this problem is a new one for me. Last evening, I brought in cups full of dirt from around a few plants and inspected it under a lens, nothing. This morning I moved the straw back about four inches, so I'll be able to see if there is something going on like silme or trails in the soil, shouldn't be, but who knows. BTW, I've not noticed any of the runner plants being bothered, it's growth from the crown.
Thanks for the web site Charles, lots of good info; but I didn't recognize any of the diseases shown. Is there a pest out there that can suck the life from the stem and not cut it off?
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