If it is the tip of summer time in your jam, plant strawberries now

Strawberries are a basic spring and summer time fruit all through Texas and the USA, with the ripest berries being discovered from early February to late June.

Close-up photo of cut strawberries
Rising strawberries within the colder months is good for higher high quality fruit. (Texas A&M AgriLife photograph by Sam Craft)

So fall could also be an odd time to consider strawberries, however a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service professional mentioned now could be the proper time to plan a fall planting.

Dwelling gardeners could also be accustomed to planting strawberries within the spring, nonetheless, they probably will not get one of the best outcomes, mentioned Russell Wallace, Ph.D., horticulturist at AgriLife Extension, Lubbock.

“The cooler months, particularly throughout October, are a very good time to begin planting strawberries for higher spring yields and better high quality fruit,” Wallace mentioned. “A whole lot of occasions we’ve nurseries that promote vegetation within the spring, which is admittedly the fallacious time of yr as a result of it will get too sizzling too rapidly for strawberries.”

Autumn climate is appropriate

Strawberries are greatest loved within the sizzling solar, however they’re a cool-season plant. Cooler climate gives cool hours that enhance bud development and, in the end, fruit manufacturing, Wallace mentioned.

When you purchase strawberry vegetation within the spring, you possibly can hold them below shade to assist hold them cooler, he mentioned. Nevertheless, air temperatures could also be very heat.

Strawberry vegetation favor a mean daytime temperature of about 72-75 levels, Wallace mentioned. When you dwell in Texas, which means October is an effective time to let your transplants take root.

“Strawberries require lots of care,” Wallace mentioned. “It is best to plant them within the fall to allow them to get established throughout chilly climate.”

What, the place and how you can plant strawberries

Strawberries can thrive in small areas and are perfect for square-foot gardening, Wallace mentioned. However he confused the significance of constructing certain they don’t seem to be too shut collectively, and protecting them at a charge of 1 plant per sq. foot. If vegetation are too shut collectively they compete for vitamins, which can lead to fewer and/or smaller berries.

Strawberry vegetation additionally favor sandy soil, which generally has a pH beneath 7, Wallace added.

Soilless potting soil is efficient however might require extra every day care than traditional as a result of it will possibly dry out your vegetation rapidly, he mentioned. Wallace instructed protecting the vegetation watered often every single day and utilizing water-soluble fertilizers twice per week.

When including strawberries to your private home backyard, Wallace recommends protecting them as cool as attainable.

“Attempt utilizing shade material over your vegetation,” he mentioned. “Put it about 5 toes or so above the plant to offer it room to develop.”

In relation to selecting the best strawberry cultivar for Texas, Wallace beforehand beneficial planting June bearers. Nevertheless, he mentioned additional analysis revealed that a number of day-neutral varieties have carried out very nicely in Texas.

“My advice is to maintain testing varieties to see what works greatest in your space,” Wallace mentioned.

Change your care with the seasons

Strawberries require cautious care, and because the climate modifications from planting to reap, the kind of care supplied modifications. When planting in October, Wallace mentioned it is essential to keep up soil moisture via constant watering. Additionally it is essential for dwelling gardeners to maintain weeds and bugs away.

Close-up photo of strawberries
Relying on location, fruiting might start as early as January and proceed into the spring months. (Texas A&M AgriLife photograph by Michael Miller)

Fertilizer can be an essential modification for strawberries.

“Maintain it fertilized and attempt to promote as a lot plant development as attainable within the fall as a result of that may enhance buds and extra flowers later within the spring,” Wallace mentioned.

Relying in your location, Wallace mentioned flowering and fruiting might start as early as January and proceed into the spring months. When you begin seeing flowers, he mentioned, it is essential to maintain these flowers protected against freezing temperatures utilizing a plastic or material cowl.

For extra info, see Wallace’s Low Tunnel Strawberry Information for Dwelling Gardeners.

“You might lose flowers as a result of chilly temperatures, however they need to come again to bloom afterward,” Wallace mentioned. “However it can take about two or three weeks earlier than they get extra fruit if they’re contaminated.”

In relation to harvesting within the spring, Wallace cautions towards harvesting too early.

“You wish to ensure they’re no less than 75 p.c crimson whenever you decide them to make sure one of the best taste,” Wallace mentioned.

Shield your strawberries

When you dwell in a colder local weather, you possibly can defend your vegetation with a low tunnel lined in plastic. Generally, Wallace mentioned if temperatures do not drop beneath freezing for very lengthy, the vegetation ought to survive.

“Some leaves may get burned, however the vegetation must be OK,” he mentioned.

Whilst you’re defending your vegetation from climate and bugs, it is also essential to be cautious of illnesses. Botrytis is quite common on strawberry vegetation amongst dwelling growers, Wallace factors out. A symptom of the illness is white or grey mould on berries.

“It occurs below very moist situations,” Wallace mentioned. “The flowers get contaminated, then the fruits get contaminated.”

When you’re not utilizing any pesticides, it is best to choose the affected flowers or berries and put them in a plastic bag, he mentioned. Then throw them within the rubbish as quickly as attainable to assist restrict the unfold of the illness.

Make your plant alternatives now

Wallace instructed that dwelling growers begin shopping for their vegetation now, since nurseries can promote out and many individuals understand it is a good time of yr to plant.

When you’re not happy with the varieties accessible or unable to seek out bare-root strawberry vegetation within the fall, you possibly can search on-line nurseries, he mentioned.

“Nevertheless, a number of the bigger nurseries have a minimal order of 30,000, as that’s more economical for them,” Wallace mentioned. “However some on-line nurseries will promote in packs of 25, which is best for smaller growers.”

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