|Planting– Space your strawberry plants 12-18 inches apart in the row. Rows should be spaced 3-4 feet apart. Set plants in the row with the roots straight down. Be sure that planter shoes on your transplanting equipment or hand tools penetrate deeply enough to facilitate proper planting. Care should be taken that plants are set with the middle of the crown level with the top of the soil. Within a week or so, the soil will settle and the soil line should be even with the bottom of the crown. (See illustration.) Avoid covering crowns with soil while you hoe, weed, and cultivate throughout the season.|
| Weed Control– Weed control for strawberries is very important for successful results. We recommend preparing your site the year before planting to remove perennial grasses and to reduce weed pressure. At planting time, the soil should be thoroughly prepared and weed free. After planting, weekly cultivation removes weeds when they are small so they do not have a chance to compete with your plants. A tool called a scuffle hoe works well for this type of work. Also, the proper use of mulches will assist in weed control. Consult your local Cooperative Extension office for advice on using any chemical weed controls. |
Fertilization – Fertilizers should be used to maintain a balanced soil fertility, which will result in good vigorous plant growth. We recommend fertilizing in small quantities on a regular basis to encourage adequate growth and remove the possibility of overfertilizing. Overfertilizing leads to burning of plant leaves and roots, disease-prone growth and soft berries. See details for fertilization in the June bearing and/or day neutrals sections.
Irrigation – Irrigation is important for producing good crops of strawberries. If irrigation is not available, select a site with good water-holding capacity (but avoiding wet soils) as strawberries do poorly under drought conditions. Plant as soon as possible when the soil moisture is good. Strawberries do best when they get 1-2 inches of rainfall or equivalent each week, depending on soil type.
Mulching – Mulching is necessary in most northern states. A mulch prevents the quick freezing and thawing and thus mitigates fluctuating temperatures which cause crown damage that affects plant survival and crop yield. Mulch keeps fruit clean, conserves moisture, keeps down weeds, and adds humus to the soil. Mulch with any loose, acid-free and weed-free material such as salt hay or straw, after plants have started to go dormant or after 6-10 hard frosts – usually in early to late November depending on your location and the accumulation of chilling hours. Avoid materials like decayed or wet leaves that tend to mat down and can smother plants. Remove mulch from the top of the crowns in spring when the new growth starts. Leave mulch in the aisles to help keep the fruit clean.