By Julie Tridle
When it comes to planting strawberries, there are three types to choose from, all which produce berries in the spring. June bearing berries produce one large crop per season in late spring or early summer. Everbearing strawberries produce two to three crops per year generally during spring and summer. Day neutral varieties produce fruit continuously throughout your growing season. All varieties should be planted as early as possible in the spring. Though strawberry plants produce berries for three to four years, most will not produce a hearty crop the first year.
Deciding when to plant strawberries depends upon your region and your climate rather than your preferred harvest date. Spring, summer or early fall berry production depends upon the variety of strawberry you choose rather than when you plant.
In most states, you should plant strawberries as soon as the ground warms, in late winter or early spring. The South Dakota State University Extension recommends late April to early May planting in its state. Oklahoma growers, on the other hand, should plant in late February or early March, according to the Oklahoma State University Extension.
In the Gulf states, Florida and parts of California, the strawberry growing cycle is different, however. Instead of early spring planting, strawberries should be planted in late fall or early winter for harvesting the following spring. Louisiana State University, for instance, recommends Louisiana growers plant in October through December.
If you decide you’d like June bearing strawberries and would like a spring harvest, choose early or midseason varieties. Popular options include Veestar, Supercrop, Earliglow and Chandler. Aside from the harvest date, you should take care to choose your strawberries based on their size, yield, flavor and their compatibility with your climate. Veestar, for instance, are high-yielding plants that produce medium-size berries. They are hardy to USDA zone 2, tolerating extremely cool climates. Chandler strawberries, on the other hand, are large-berry, high-yielding plants that are better suited for warmer climates.
Most varieties of everbearing and day neutral strawberries will produce berries in the spring. Unlike June bearing strawberries, which don’t produce until the second growing season, everbearing and day neutral varieties will produce a small crop the first year. As with June bearing varieties, it’s important to choose a plants based on yield, berry size and flavor as well as climate needs. Ozark Beauty, for instance, is a popular everbearing plant well suited for Northeastern and Midwestern climates. Tribute, on the other hand, is a popular day neutral variety, great in cold Northeastern climates as well as in warm Southern states.