By Eleanor Jewell

Ozark beauty strawberries (Fragaria) are a form of everbearing strawberries that produce plump, tasty fruits from spring into fall when grown from roots. These hardy growers require minimal attention and can yield as many as 200 strawberries on one plant. Sunny, well-drained soil is the preferred growing medium for Ozark beauty strawberries within their favored USDA hardiness zones of 4 through 8. If you are a Tennessee gardener, you live within hardiness zones 6 and 7—a perfect environment for planting Ozark beauties.

Test the soil in the desired planting location. Strawberries prefer soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If your Tennessee soil does not meet these requirements, you will need to amend. Use a soil test to determine the soil pH.

Amend the soil with lime if the test reveals a pH below 5.5 or peat moss for Tennessee soil above 6.5. Add the amendment per label instructions after breaking up the soil with a pitchfork.

Dig holes wide enough to accommodate each Ozark beauty strawberry root comfortably. Space each hole approximately 12 inches from the next. Deposit one Ozark strawberry in each hole with the crown of the root even with the soil.

Water the Ozark beauty roots generously after planting. Use a soaker hose for deep waterings. Supply the roots with at least 1 inch of water every week, keeping the soil moist to a 1-inch depth at all times. Tennessee receives an annual rainfall total of approximately 49 inches, which is close to adequate for growing strawberries. Supplemental watering once a week in lieu of rain is only required during dry spells in Tennessee.

Mulch around the Ozark beauty strawberry roots to keep the strawberry patch weed-free. Mulching with a 3- to 4-inch layer of straw or bark chips will also improve drainage and keep the strawberry roots cool in the Tennessee sun.

Apply a 12-12-12 fertilizer to the soil around the strawberries. Apply the fertilizer according to manufacturer’s instructions. Most Tennessee strawberries appreciate a dose of fertilizer at least once a month during the growing season.

Harvest the Tennessee Ozark strawberries as they ripen.

Pick pests off the strawberry plants using your gloved hands or use an insecticidal soap. Apply the insecticidal soap according to label instructions.

Do not overwater the strawberry plants. Standing water will cause the roots to rot.