Planting Strawberries - Knowledgebase Question

Phoenix, Ar
Question by ashhetrick
March 17, 2010

I am wanting to get more information in regards to the strawberries i just purchased.
Thank you

Answer from NGA
March 17, 2010


Strawberries are a perennial plant composed of a crown (a shortened stem), leaves, and roots. Most roots will grow in the upper 6 inches of soil, but may go as deep as 12 inches. Clusters of flowers develop from the terminal bud of the plant. Strawberries reproduce by runners (stolons) which take root and create new plants. There are three types of strawberries: June-bearers, everbearers, and day-neutrals. As you might think, they differ in their response to day length which affects berry and runner production.

June-bearers develop flowers in the early spring from buds formed the previous fall when day length is less than 10 hours/day. They require a full, well-developed leaf canopy during the fall period to produce energy required to form the buds. June-bearers are very productive, but late spring frosts can harm flowers and reduce yields. June-bearers are best suited to warm areas where spring frost damage is not an issue. You may also consider providing some frost protection (such as a cold frame, row cover, or hoop house).

Everbearing strawberries initiate flower production when day length is greater than 12 hours and generally produce a spring and a fall crop. If frost kills the spring crop, a fall crop can still be produced. They do not tolerate heat as well as June-bearers, so should be planted in colder locations. Some everbearing cultivars to consider are: Fort Laramie; Gem Everbearing; Ogallala; Ozark Beauty; Quinault; and Streamliner.

Day-neutral strawberries are unique in that they can flower and fruit under any day length conditions producing fruit from spring to fall. However, when temperatures go above 70 degrees F, flower formation is inhibited. They are often favored for planting in containers. Some day-neutral cultivars to consider are: Fern; Selva; Tribute; and Tristar.

Ideally, strawberry beds should be located on elevated ground with gentle slopes (cold air flows downhill like water). A northern exposure will also delay bloom in the spring if frosts are a consideration. Locations near a house can also be warmer due to heat generated by the home. Strawberries prefer full sun except in the low elevation deserts where afternoon shade can benefit the plants. Sites should also be free of perennial weeds such as bermudagrass.

Strawberries prefer well-drained, sandy loam soils high in organic matter. Alkaline soils should also be amended with soil sulfur. Before planting, incorporate one pound of 12-24-12 fertilizer per 100 sq. ft. (or equivalent). It is recommended to remove the first flowers after planting to improve plant establishment.

Grow your strawberries in morning sun but shade from the hot afternoon sunshine.

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