Strawberry plants have a shallow root system and cannot stand severe drought. If drought comes during any of the following
»critical« times, irrigate enough to wet the soil 6 to 8 inches deep once a week:
1.When plants are set and during dry periods following setting;
2.Just before harvest and during harvest when berry size appears to be suffering;
3.After renovation, as needed, to encourage new runner plant;
4.In late August, September, and early October when fruit buds are forming the next season's crop;
5.Irrigation, if used properly, can also help prevent frost injury to blossoms in spring (check with your cooperative
extension agent for recommendations row covers are far more convenient to use for frost/freeze control).
Hand-hoeing and hand-weeding are very important in strawberry plantings. There are several weed-control materials for the
strawberry, but in general home garden plantings are best weeded without the use of chemicals. It is difficult to apply the
chemical at the proper rate without the necessary equipment and there is the danger of doing damage to adjacent vegetable and
flower plants (spray drift). Subsequent crops following strawberries in the garden may also be sensitive to these chemicals. The
basic methods of controlling weeds are:
1.Machine cultivation plus hoeing and hand pulling;
2.Mulching with suitable material;
3.Chemical herbicides (check with your county extension);
4.Geese (»goosing your strawberries« is still popular in some areas of the U.S.)
HERBICIDES SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED WHEN PLANTS ARE BLOOMING, WHEN RUNNER
PLANTS ARE TAKING ROOT, AND DURING LATE SUMMER AND EARLY FALL WHEN FRUIT
BUDS ARE BEING FORMED.
Strawberry harvest begins in latter part of April in eastern North Carolina, early May in Piedmont, and late May in mountains.
You should pick strawberries every other day or three times a week. Pick the fruit with about 1/4 of the stem attached. The
best time to pick is in early morning when berries are still cool. Not all berries ripen at the same time; pick only those that are
RENOVATION OR RENEWING THE PLANTING:
Matted row strawberry plantings may bear fruit for more than one season, and may be kept for two or possibly 3 to 4 fruiting
seasons if properly renovated. The main purpose of renovation is to keep plants from becoming too crowded in beds. Do not
attempt to renew strawberry beds infested with weeds, diseases, or insects; it is better to set a new planting. To renew a
planting follow these three steps:
1.Mow off the leaves, rake away from plants and dispose of them (take your rotary lawn mower and mow over top of
bed setting blade about 4").
2.Cut back rows with a cultivator, rototiller or hoe to a strip 12-18 inches wide.
3.Thin the plants leaving only the most healthy and vigorous. Plants should be about six inches apart in all directions.
INSECT AND DISEASE PROBLEMS:
Although strawberries can have their share of insect and disease problems, most homeowners ignore them unless they become
serious. Following these seven precautions should minimize pest problems.
1.Use anthracnose-free plants for setting.
2.Choose a well-drained soil for planting strawberries this will reduce the likelihood of red stele infection.
3.Rotate your strawberry patch every 3 to 4 years.
4.During harvest remove berries damaged by diseases and insects as this reduces the amount of fruit rot.
5.Properly renovate beds to remove older diseased foliage and keep from getting too crowded.
6.Don't keep a planting in production too long; start a new planting every year or two to replace old plantings after their
second or third crop.
7.Do not allow insects and diseases to build up. Follow your county extension agent recommendations to achieve control
Month Tasks to be performed
January Order new plants. Apollo requires another variety.
February Plant (CP); fertilize (CP) old beds; apply
mulch (CP, P); 2 weeks prior to new planting apply
fertilizer plus lime.
March Plant (P, WNC) certified plant; MR space 2 x 4 ft;
Frost protect blossoms (CP)
April Remove mulch covering (WNC); cultivate/water/frost
protection; control pests. Frost protect blossoms.
May Water if dry; nets for birds; harvest each 2 days;
new plants remove blossoms; training of
June Harvest (P, WNC); runner training; pest control;
water if dry; renovate old beds after fruiting.
July Pest control; fertilize as needed; water and
August Pest control; water if dry; fertilize in mid-August;
check for mites.
September Fertilize in mid-September; pest control; water
liberally; thin to 6 plants per square foot; soil
test for fertilizer and nematodes.
October Water if dry; prepare new land; need ph greater than
November Locate mulch supply.
December Broadcast mulch after ground has frozen (WNC).