When to Fertilize Strawberry Plants?

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Strawberries are a delicious addition to the home garden.There are three types of strawberry plant: June-bearers, ever bearers and day neutrals. Each type of strawberry plant has different fertilization timing requirements. For all types of strawberries, a 10-10-10 fertilizer promotes overall plant growth and health. And in all cases, never fertilize plants once flowering has started or when berries are still on the plant.

Soil Preparation

  • Prepare the soil for any new strawberry plants. Amend clay soils with generous amounts of organic matter and coarse sand. Amend sandy soils with generous amounts of organic matter. The plants perform the best in a rich loamy soil. The nutrients in the soil are necessary to the overall health and productivity of the plant. Add a fertilizer that contains a balanced amount of nitrogen, potassium and phosphate (10-10-10 NPK) to nutrient deprived soil in the planting area. On average, 6 feet of planting bed requires 1 oz. of fertilizer and a 100-foot plot requires a pound of fertilizer. The balanced fertilizer will prevent overproduction of leaves and the best berry production. Pinching the flowers off strawberry plants for the first month after planting them encourages the plant to put energy into root system establishment. After that time, allow the plant to produce buds and flower.

Types

  • Day-neutral strawberries continuously produce berries until frost kills the plant. They grow as annuals in areas prone to frost. Fertilize day-neutral strawberries during the first week of July and then allow the plant to produce blooms. June-bearers produce one crop of berries per year, typically in June. Fertilize June-bearer strawberries in July after harvesting all of the berries. Ever-bearer strawberries produce a crop early in the summer and again in the fall. Fertilize ever bearer strawberries late in the summer after the harvesting the first crop.

Considerations

  • Water plants well after fertilizing them so the fertilizer will reach the root system. The buds for the following season's growth develop at this time. Do not fertilize strawberry plants in the fall. This will promote new growth that winter frost harms. Heavily cover strawberry plants with straw to protect them throughout the winter. Day-neutral and ever-bearer plants typically produce smaller berries than June-bearers do. Do not over fertilize plants in an effort to have bigger berries. The plant will only produce more leaves and fewer berries.

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