By Beverly Nation
If you are dismayed that your healthy strawberry plants produce runners without any fruit, you must first be certain of the type of strawberry plant you have. June strawberries produce fruit in early, middle or late spring. Ever-bearing strawberries produce fruit during three periods: in spring, summer and fall. Day neutral strawberries produce fruit during the entire growing season from spring to fall. If you have identified the type of strawberry plants you have and determined they are not producing fruit as they should, you can encourage the plants to bloom and produce strawberries.
Plant strawberry cultivars determined to grow well in your climate. Research what strawberry plants thrive in your region. Plants developed for Minnesota might not grow well in Texas. When plants are not suited for the climate, they will not produce fruit.
Test the soil in your garden before planting strawberries. They need a pH level between 5.5 to 6.5. If the pH is too low, add dolomitic lime. If you are using a garden area that previously grew grass, wait one year before planting strawberries. If pH levels are off, plants will not produce fruit.
Pinch off the flowers of June strawberry plants when they appear throughout the first growing season. This will ensure robust root development and promote abundant fruit production the next year. Remove flowers on ever-bearing and day neutral strawberries until June 30. Plants will then produce fruit in summer and fall.
Scatter fertilizer such as 10-10-10 over the soil before setting strawberry plants. Work the fertilizer into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil. During the second growing season and each year thereafter, fertilize again in July. Water carefully so fertilizer soaks down into the roots. Avoid using too much fertilizer. This causes abundant leaf growth and diminishes fruit production. Brush off any fertilizer that falls on leaves.
Water your strawberry plants regularly. Their shallow root system can dry out easily on hot summer days. Plants will not produce fruit if they are too thirsty. In addition, overwatering stops fruit production. The crowns of the plants can rot if under water or planted in soil that is not well-drained.
Renovate your strawberry patch starting the third or fourth growing season. Thin plants, leaving the most healthy with spacing of 6 inches apart on all sides.
When planting strawberries, set them so the roots are just below the soil’s surface. Do not cover the crown. This will lead to poor fruit production.