By Jacob J. Wright

The long winter in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 5 makes spring planting of strawberry plants best. This gives the young plants as long a growing season as possible to establish roots before winter cold sets in again.

Strawberry plants will tolerate mild subfreezing temperatures and frosts. In USDA zone 5, the ideal time to plant strawberries to create a new bed is in early spring — late March through April. Wait until the frost leaves the ground and the soil is no longer mucky.

Plant all strawberry types and varieties in spring for best establishment. June-bearing strawberries spread by running stems to create a thicket. Everbearing and day-neutral strawberries are maintained as tidy clumps.

After planting, pluck off all flowers on everbearing and day-neutral strawberry varieties until the plants have been in the ground for six weeks. Remove the flowers from June-bearing strawberries the entire first year to prevent berry production. Removing flowers focuses plant energy to create strong root systems and healthy foliage.

Plant the crown of the strawberry, the transitional area where stems united to then become roots, even with the soil. Planting too deeply encourages plant rot while planting too shallowly leads to dehydration.