By Sarah Jackson
Growing strawberries is an annual favorite of rookie and seasoned gardeners alike. However, growing strawberries in the South requires different methods than the North. This guide provides a few basics to ensure the success of your strawberry-growing experience.
Strawberries in the Dallas area typically take 8 months from start to finish and, as such, should be planted in September or early October. Waiting until November to plant could drastically reduce the number of strawberries produced. You can expect strawberries planted in September or October to yield fruit in April or May.
There are hundreds of varieties of strawberries in existence, but for the average home garden in Dallas there are only a few varieties that will grow well: Chandler, Sequoia and Douglas. Although Chandler is most likely the best variety to grow in the Dallas area, its not often available at local nurseries. Sequoia or Douglas are both great varieties for fall planting and grow good quality berries. Ask your local nursery what other spring-bearing strawberries they sell, as most will work satisfactorily when planted in fall.
When choosing which variety of strawberry to plant, avoid everbearing (“never-bearing” in the Dallas area) or day-neutral varieties as these will bear a lower quality fruit under the heat of a Dallas spring and summer.
Providing proper soil is the most difficult part of growing a healthy strawberry plant in the Dallas area. Strawberries thrive in an acidic, sandy soil and Dallas consists of a mostly alkaline, clay-type soil. Options include digging and removing current soil and replacing it with appropriate soil purchased from your local nursery or building a raised bed and filling it with purchased soil. Strawberries also grow quite well in containers.