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|First text||on Oct 27th 2001, 00:23:03 wrote
E. Barclay Poling about FERTILIZATION
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FERTILIZATIONRating: 1 point(s) | Read and rate text individually
Key Objectives the strawberry plant is shallow rooted and must be fertilized during the growing season to keep
it vigorous. And, plants should be fertilized before September, prior to the period of fruit-bud initiation.
Soil analytical services provided free of charge by the N.C. Department of Agriculture provide information on soil pH,
dolomitic lime requirement, available phosphorus, potassium and magnesium levels, percentage humic matter, and total nitrogen
content. However, there is no satisfactory analytical method for determining the amount of nitrogen in the soil sample that is
immediately available for plant growth. The percentage humic matter and total nitrogen content give indications of overall soil
fertility and this can be a useful guide to nitrogen availability. Essentially, you should follow the test recommendations for
adjusting soil phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) before planting. If no soil test has been made, broadcast about 4 pounds of
10-10-10 fertilizer for each 100 feet of row 2 to 3 weeks before planting strawberries.
First season fertilizer if new plants appear light green and are not growing well, sidedress with nitrogen (N) about one month
after planting. Apply either 1 1/2 pound ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row, or about 5 pounds 10-10-10 per 100 feet of
row. A topdress application of ammonium nitrate at 1 1/2 pounds per 100 feet of row should be made again in late August.
When topdressing strawberry plants, apply the fertilizer evenly and be sure to brush all fertilizer off the leaves to protect from
fertilizer burn. The late August N application is necessary to promote good flower bud development in the fall. Very light
coastal soils need additional N again in late January. The rate suggested at this time is 3/4 pounds ammonium nitrate, or 2 1/2
pounds 10-10-10 per 100 feet of row.
Second season fertilizer prior to mowing the strawberry foliage at renovation (see Renovation), broadcast 3 to 4 pounds of a
complete fertilizer (e.g. 10-10-10) or 1 1/2 pounds ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row. Follow the same recommendations
indicated for the first season fertilizer program in late August and again in late January (for sandy coastal soils). Prior to
renovation, a second soil sample can be taken to furnish more exact recommendations for the summer and fall growing period.
Organic fertilizers many of these if properly used are perfectly satisfactory. Dried Blood (12-14% N) is of course organic and
immediately available. It leaves an acid reaction. Bone Meal contains 20-24% phosphoric acid, acting slowly, while steamed
bone meal acts more quickly. Wood ashes can be used for supplying potash. For those who wish more information contact
your County Cooperative Extension Office.
Key Objectives in western N.C., the foothills and upper piedmont, a mulch is applied in the early winter,
preferably after the ground has frozen for the first time, to prevent the soil from freezing and thawing and heaving
of the plants. Also, when growth begins in the spring, a mulch of straw or pine needles on the ground helps to
keep the berries clean as they ripen, conserves the moisture in the soil and is an excellent means for controlling
EASTERN CAROLINA AND CENTRAL PIEDMONT Apply pine needles or grain straw in February. Scatter lightly over
plants and in middles between rows.
WESTERN CAROLINA, FOOTHILLS AND UPPER PIEDMONT In December, broadcast sufficient pine needles or
grain straw in the middles and around the plants to protect crown. Use a light application on top of the plants at the higher
elevations after the ground has frozen. This will prevent heaving of the plants and protect them from cold, drying winds when
there is no snow cover.
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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).
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