By Amy Shelleby
Some nurseries may offer bare root strawberry plants to their customers. These plants come to you with the root system exposed. The strawberry plants should go into the ground or a container the same day you purchase them. If this is not possible, Valerie Jean Rose from Washington State University suggests placing the strawberry plants in sawdust, sand or dirt and then placing the plants in a cool area. When planting strawberries be sure the location gets eight or more hours of sun a day. Strawberry plants need a lot of sunlight to produce their sweet red fruits.
Soak the roots of the strawberry plant in a bucket of water for two hours. Do this only if you waited to plant the bare root strawberry plants. This will help rehydrate the roots.
Add a 2-inch layer of organic compost to the planting area. Work the compost into the soil by running a garden rake back and forth over the compost.
Fertilize the planting area with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for the correct amount of fertilizer for your planting area.
Dig a hole with a garden shovel deep enough to accommodate the roots. The roots should not need to bend to fit in the hole.
Pull off any dead or yellowing leaves from the strawberry plant. These leaves will not benefit the strawberry plant in any way.
Place the bare roots of the strawberry plant in the hole. Be careful that the roots can extend vertically without bending. Back fill the hole with soil. Cover the roots completely. Do not cover the crown of the strawberry plant. The crown is the stem–right above the roots–that has no leaves.
Water the strawberry plant with a garden hose. The soil around the plant should be moist. Do not allow water to puddle around the plant.
Place a 2-inch thick layer of mulch around the strawberry plant. The mulch will help retain moisture in the summer and keep heat in the soil during the winter.
Water your strawberry plant every day, when the weather is hot.
Do not over fertilize your strawberry plant. Strawberry plants only need to be fertilized once a year.