June Bearing Strawberry plants are the favorite and most popular type of Strawberry in both home gardens and commercial arenas. Knowing how to take care of a strawberry plant in its first summer, will result in delicious strawberry production for summers to come.
If you’ve selected to grow, Day-neutral Strawberry plants, they will also need to be maintained appropriately to produce delicious fruit for your family from June-October.
Strawberry plants are relatively simple to care for, have quick yields and produce a family favorite fruit. Enjoy!
DETERMINE THE TYPE OF STRAWBERRY – The first thing you will need to do, is determine which type of Strawberry you have planted. There are many different cultivars which fall into two different types: June Bearing Strawberry plants and Day-neutral Strawberry plants. Which type of strawberry you have chosen will determine how you maintain it.
To determine which type of strawberry you have purchased, you will need to ask when purchasing or call the store. They are not distinguishable by sight.
PLANT STRAWBERRIES PROPERLY – If you have already planted your strawberries, move to the next step. If you have not yet planted your strawberry plants you will want to choose where to plant them carefully to produce the most success. Optimal places are close to eyesight, so you will be reminded to care for it, at the bottom of a slope so they are out of the wind, and a place which receives sunlight well. See How to Build a Strawberry Bed in the resource section for more information.
*June Bearing Strawberries should be planted 12-24inches apart, Day-neutral should be 8-12inches apart.
TRIM FOR THE FIRST SEASON – The first season is the most important when learning how to take care of a strawberry plant. This is the season which will determine how fruitful you will be in upcoming seasons, this differs dramatically depending on the type of strawberry.
To trim a flower stem: Do this if possible even before the blossoms open. Pinch the bottom of the stem between your fingernails or snip them off with shears, never pull. This can be hard to do, but will strengthen the mother plant and you will reap much more rewards the next season.
June Bearing Strawberries – For the entire first season you will need to trim off flowering stems, so that no berries can form.
Day-Neutral Strawberries – Trim for the first season only until the end of July (until grows to maturity), then enjoy fruit through the fall.
SPACE THE RUNNERS – June Bearing strawberries in particular produce a lot of runners. They begin to grow about 5-6 weeks after being planted. Spacing these appropriately will reap beautiful big strawberries for later seasons. For the most amount of strawberries in subsequent seasons, limit the number of daughter plants that grow from a mother. Each mother should be limited to five strong daughter plants. Weight these plants down with soil, or hair pins at about 9 inches from the mother plant, they will root themselves. Some gardeners prefer to let their runners go without limiting the number, this leads to more disease and less productivity.
For Day-neutral strawberries, remove all runners/daughter plants. This will allow the mother to stay stronger and live longer.
WEED THROUGHOUT THE SEASON – Strawberries have shallow roots, so weeding is especially important for any type of strawberry. Some will use a sheet of black plastic to smother weeds, but that gets complicated and creates a lot of work when it comes to positioning runners. Hand weeding works best with strawberries as hoes can bring up the strawberry roots.
WATER THE PLANTS – Strawberry plants require 1-1.5 inches of water per week. Make sure to water the plants in the morning as to prevent common leaf diseases.
RENOVATE THE STRAWBERRY BED AFTER HARVEST – For strawberries, especially, it is very important to renovate the strawberry bed after harvest. This includes cutting all the leaves, widening the rows, adding a fertilizer, preferably a 5-10-10, thinning the plants and leaving only the strongest ones, allowing only the strongest two runners from each plant to remain and mulching.
ENJOY YOUR DELICIOUS STRAWBERRIES – Gardening can be a lot of work, but it is extremely rewarding. You will feel you have a lot of pride in your work and will enjoy the delicious fruit which come from it.