The Q&A Archives: Healty Strawberry Plants, But No Sign Of Fruit

Question: I live in Southern New England, and have a medium sized strawberry bed. They are mulched in the fall with leaves and in the spring they are also maintained. The plot is 3 years old and have had only one good crop. We do not know the type of strawberry they are as they were given to us. Any suggestions?

Answer: Strawberries form their blossoms in the fall, then the flowers bloom in spring and ultimately form fruit. If your plants do not bloom, or the blooms are damaged, there will be no crop.

The most common reason for poor fruiting is probably frost damage that occurs when the plants are blooming. Many gardeners cover their strawberry beds with frost blankets on cold spring nights when the plants are in bloom to prevent this.

If your plants are not forming flowers, then I would expect cultural conditions are not the best. These plants need full sun, rich soil, and adequate moisture although not a soggy soil. You might want to check with your county extension about running some basic soil tests and then adding amendments or fertilizer as indicated by the results.

Crowding can also reduce blooming. The plants should be spaced far enough apart that they are not competing with eachother and so that there is good airflow between them. Most varieties put out so many runners that they need to be thinned several times during the summer. Sometimes a neglected bed becomes so overcrowded that the crop is greatly reduced.

Most gardeners will replace their strawberry plants every other year or so because the original plants become old and tired and bear less well. The runners can be used to replace the originals or the entire planting can be redone. It is also a good idea to rotate the strawberry planting area periodically to avoid a build up of pests or disease.

I hope this gives you some ideas to explore.

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