Thursday, March 21, 2013

Strawberries are a Favorite Homegrown Fruit, Spring is the Time to Get Growing

Contact: Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

Spring brings several jobs for the home strawberry grower according to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Spring weather also brings lots of questions from strawberry growers.

When is it time to uncover my strawberries? According to Byers, strawberries should be covered with straw or rowcover during the winter, to protect the plants from winter injury.

“I recommend uncovering the plants in late March or early April and watch for leaf development,” said Byers. “Don’t uncover too early because the plants will bloom earlier.”

What should you do if a frost is in the forecast?

“Strawberry plants blossom in April, and the flowers can be damaged by a late frost,” said Byers. “It is a good idea to watch the weather forecast and plan ahead. If frost is forecast, cover the plants with row cover or straw which can protect down to around 26 degrees.”

Should I fertilize my strawberries this spring? “The answer is no because you don’t want lots of lush leaf growth,” said Byers.

What can be done to limit those fruit rots? According to Byers the key is keeping a clean strawberry patch. It is also a good idea to not fertilize in the spring and if you have a large patch, consider a fungicide spray.

A good source of information on this topic can be found in the MU Extension guide sheet, “G6135 Home Fruit Production - Strawberry cultivars and their culture” available online at For more information, call University of Missouri Extension at 417-881-8909.


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