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Temperature for Growing Strawberries

By Diane Watkins, eHow Contributor Everbearing strawberries continue to bloom and set fruit as long as temperatures are suitable. Strawberries are one of the most often grown small fruits for the home garden. Growing temperatures are important, as they don't do well in extremes of heat or cold. In cold climates, they are planted in the early spring for summer and fall harvesting. In hot subtropical or tropical climates, they do best planted in the fall for spring harvest.

Planting Temperatures
For spring planting, plant strawberries when temperatures are reliably above 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the soil has warmed up and dried out enough to be workable. Plant them early so that they have time to become well-established before the weather gets too hot. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 and 10, plant strawberries in the fall when temperatures are consistently below 80 degrees.

Growing Temperatures
Strawberries prefer temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees. The flowers will not develop or set fruit when temperatures are outside this range. Flowers and fruit are damaged by temperatures below 32 degrees and the plants sustain permanent damage at temperatures in the 20s.

Extreme Heat
While strawberries will not set fruit when the daytime temperatures rise above 80 degrees, the plants will continue to grow as long as they receive enough moisture. In USDA plant hardiness zones 9 and 10, where summer temperatures are consistently high, strawberries are likely to succumb to the heat, wither and die. In hot areas such as these, strawberries are grown over the winter.

Extreme Cold

Freezing weather can damage or kill strawberry plants, so care needs to be taken to protect them when temperatures drop below freezing for any length of time. Covering them with plastic sheeting or a lightweight tarp is beneficial for a light frost. When extended freezes are expected, continuous watering with a sprinkler is helpful. The water freezes on the plant and insulates it from colder temperatures. Keep the sprinklers on until temperatures rise and all ice has melted.

Facts About Growing Strawberries


By Janet Scheffler, eHow Contributor Strawberry plants yield juicy and delicious berries with minimal maintenance. Strawberries, or Fragaria, belong to the rose family and produce berries from very sweet to tart depending on the variety. Choose cultivars based on preferred qualities such as disease resistances and taste. Strawberries ripen early in the summer and a large part of the plant's roots grow in the top few inches of dirt. Grown in different climates and geography, strawberry plants offer adaptability.

Site Conditions
Strawberries thrive best in sandy, well-drained and organic soil in full-sun conditions. A wellmaintained strawberry patch produces fruit year after year. The pH levels of the soil ideally stay between 5.8 and 6.2. Site conditions take time to prepare, possibly a season or more, for planting successful strawberry patches. Fertilize by spreading compost and manure early in the season to boost soil nutrition necessary for producing a good crop from the plants. Have a local supply of water available for dry stretches.

Planting
Plant strawberry starters later in the day or when conditions are overcast in early spring, giving plants an opportunity to settle in prior to the arrival of hotter temperatures. Ensure the soil is dry and cover the roots to just over the tops. Choose various planting systems depending on the cultivar; spaced-row, matted row or hills. Removing the blossoms of early summer strawberries aids in the development of roots and the runners needed for a bumper crop in the next year.

Maintenance
Removing fruit that develops mold or rot avoids the spread of disease to other ripe berries. Keep berries from touching the ground by spreading straw around the base of the plants. Picking fruit often aids in reducing rot. Deadhead blossoms that have wilted or show burnt edges and thin out the weaker plants. Weed strawberry beds frequently, as weeds encourage the spread of disease. Fill in areas which hold water with a sandy mixture to avoid moisture retention.

Disease

Leaf blight, scorch and spot present three serious diseases for strawberry plants. They occur only on the strawberry. Leaf blight shows up after harvest, damaging young runners. Leaf scorch damages multiple parts of the plant, leaving it covered in dark purple fungus spots. Leaf spot focuses on young plants, leaving grayish spots on the berries. Avoid using soil where nightshade plants have grown; potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes. According to the University of Maine, these plants can carry Verticilliumas, a root rot fungus which can infect strawberry plants.

Requirements for Growing Strawberries


By Tanya Khan, eHow Contributor Meet the growing requirements of strawberries so that you harvest an abundant and healthy crop. When growing backyard or commercial strawberries, certain growing requirements need to be met so that the plants produce a healthy and abundant crop. It pays to understand the key requirements of strawberries, including water, fertilizer and sunlight. Although specific requirements vary according to the type of strawberries you are growing, the basic requirements are more or less the same.

Soil Conditions
Strawberries thrive in well-draining sandy loam soil enriched with organic matter. Avoid heavy or poorly draining soils that remain wet for long periods. The site should slope slightly and be positioned near a water supply. Prepare the planting site six months to two years before planting strawberries. Because strawberries thrive in a pH range of 5.8 to 6.2, add limestone to increase the pH of acidic soils. Remove weeds from the planting site and loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Sunlight
All strawberry varieties require full sun to produce a maximum crop. Ideally, strawberries should receive at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day. If necessary, clip off low-hanging branches of trees that surround the planting site to increase sunlight penetration. A spot with southern exposure is ideal for growing strawberries.

Water
Strawberries are shallow-rooted plants that cannot tolerate dry soils. Proper watering helps the plants to produce healthy fruit and helps buds develop for next year's fruiting. Provide the strawberries 1 inch of water every week during the growing season, unless supplemented by rainfall. However, increase the frequency of irrigation during prolonged periods of drought. To reduce the chances of fungal diseases, water the plants at soil level instead of wetting the leaves.

Fertilizer
Spread 20 lbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of area in the spring of the planting year. Alternatively, spread organic sources such as manure or compost that provide at least 2 lbs. of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium per 1,000 square feet. Fertilize growing strawberries two times a year; in spring before the plants set fruit, and in fall, soon after harvest. Depending on personal preference, spread liquid or granular fertilizer over the planting site according to label directions. Avoid overfertilizing the plants.

Mulching
Spread organic mulch over strawberry plants to suppress weeds, insulate the soil and prevent leaf moisture loss from drying winds. Cover the plants with 1 to 2 inches of straw in early winter, when cold temperatures inhibit their growth. Thin the mulch in spring, when the plants produce new growth, to allow sunlight to reach the leaves. Rake the mulch off the plants as they grow, and spread it over the surrounding soil to keep the fruit off the ground.

Problems Growing Strawberries


By Elizabeth McNelis, eHow Contributor Strawberries are one of the most popular crops grown in the home garden. Nothing compares to the taste of fresh, ripe strawberries bursting with juicy sweetness. Many home gardeners enjoy the convenience of having this taste treat growing right in their own backyard. However, bountiful strawberry harvests require diligent plant management, and even healthy plants can experience unexpected problems with diseases and pests.

Root Pests
White grubs, strawberry root weevils, strawberry rootworms and sting nematodes can significantly damage strawberry roots. The white grub and the strawberry root weevil lay eggs in the soil near strawberry plants and the strawberry rootworm lays eggs in leaves near the ground. The newly hatched larvae of all three of these pests feed on the strawberry plant roots. Sting nematodes are roundworms that attack the root tips of strawberry plants, preventing new root growth. All of these pests are capable of killing strawberry plants.

Leaf Pests
The strawberry rootworm larvae attack the plant's roots, but the adult strawberry rootworm is a leaf-eating beetle that may even attack the fruit when the foliage can no longer support its growing population. The leafroller, a reddish-brown moth with yellow markings, lays its eggs on the leaves of strawberry plants. The larvae then feed on the outer layer of the leaves, secreting

silken threads as they eat, which fold and tie the leaves together. The two-spotted spider mite feeds on plant sap, causing leave to appear mottled or speckled. The leaves then die and drop.

Fruit and Flower Pests


Common pests that attack the fruit and flowers of strawberry plants are strawberry clippers, tarnished plant bugs, strawberry sap beetles and slugs. Slugs and strawberry sap beetles feed on the berries, leaving gaping holes in the fruit. The strawberry sap beetles then lay eggs in the holes and the new larvae also feed on the fruit. Strawberry clippers and tarnished plant bugs attack the strawberry blossoms. The strawberry clipper lays a single egg in the bud and then secures the bud closed. The hatching larva then feeds on the bud for three to four weeks. Tarnished plant bugs feed on the sap of the flowers.

Diseases
Strawberries are susceptible to a variety of diseases. Powdery mildew, leaf spots and slime mold can attack strawberry plant foliage, but do not usually affect fruit production. Grey mold, Rhizopus rot and leather rot attack the berries, causing discoloration and turning the fruit inedible. The roots of the strawberry plants are susceptible to black root rot and red stele. Black root rot is caused by root-attacking fungi. Red stele is a fungus that causes the tips of the roots and lateral roots to die and decay, stunting the growth and production of the plant.

Management
To manage these pests and diseases, begin by planting disease-resistant varieties. Planting in soil that drains well will help prevent root diseases. Regularly removing damaged fruit will help keep fruit-eating pest populations down. Regular removal of damaged leaves and using fungicides formulated to be safe for strawberries and sulfur sprays will control foliage fungi like powdery mildew. Most insect pests can be controlled with regular applications of neem oil-based sprays.

Questions About Growing Strawberries


By Debra Durkee, eHow Contributor A little hard work can yield plenty of garden-fresh strawberries. Growing strawberries in the backyard garden -- or even in a patio container -- may seem like a daunting task, but with some simple guidelines even the smallest space can be turned into a source for fresh, juicy strawberries. With the right variety, proper care and some upkeep, the garden can bloom with enough strawberries for jams, jellies and ice cream.

How Should the Soil Be Prepared?

Growing healthy strawberries requires some preparation to begin with. For a maximum growth rate and crop yield, the soil pH should be between 5.8 and 6.2; this number, which indicates the acidity of the soil, can be tested by submitting a soil sample to a college extension office. The soil should also be tested for nutrient content; strawberries require an even amount of the three main macronutrients -- nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium -- to thrive. Depending on the result of the testing, an organic fertilizer such as manure or an inorganic fertilizer should be applied prior to planting, to raise nutrient content, while other substances such as limestone can be used to adjust the soil pH.

How to Plant the Strawberries in the Garden?


There are several different methods of properly planting strawberry plants, but in each one the correct depth is important. Young plants should be set into the ground so the soil is barely covering the roots. This allows runners to develop, and the plants to spread. Depending on the space available, strawberries can be grown in rows or in single hills. For varieties that fall into the everbearing category -- that is, plants where runners are not desired -- plants should be arranged in small hills with several feet in between. For larger spaces, such as backyard gardens, plant the original parent plants in rows between 3 and 4 feet apart, with 18 to 30 inches between plants. This is suited to June bearing varieties that bear a number of runners.

Should fertilizer or mulch be applied?


Fertilizer should be applied to soil before the strawberries are planted, as well as during the growing season. Before the blossoms begin to turn to fruit, a fertilizer high in only nitrogen can be applied around the roots of the plant. Another application can be applied after the harvest to help prepare for the next season, but fertilizer applied when there are berries on the plants can result in mushy fruits. Mulch is also a key component in growing healthy strawberry plants that remain fruitful through more than one season. Applying mulch after the growing season is over and the leaves of plants have begun to die can help protect the plants through the winter months; using grain crops such as wheat, hay, or rye can also help condition the soil as the mulch decays in the spring.

What are potential problems to watch for?


Strawberries can be susceptible to insect damage, and an application of a commercial insecticide is usually enough to control these pests. Similarly, a commercial brand fungicide can help control mold and leaf spot, but early detection of these infestations is critical. Bacterial disease is not as much of a problem with strawberries as it can be with other fruits, but strawberries should not be planted in the same dirt where eggplants, tomatoes or potatoes have recently been planted because of the possibility of cross-contamination with verticillim wilt.

Ripening berries can also be a temptation for birds and other wildlife. Covering the berries with cheesecloth when the flowers begin to develop into fruit can discourage birds and animals from getting to the berries before they can be harvested.

How to Grow Strawberries in Strawberry Pots


By eHow Contributor Strawberry Flower in Pot

Spring is the time to plant strawberry plants. Strawberries grow easily in containers and pots and can be grown indoors and outdoors. Begin planting now so you can enjoy the ripe berries this summer.
Things You'll Need

Strawberry Plants Strawberry Pot Pre-Fertilized Potting Soil

Instructions
Strawberry pots can be easily found at gardening supply centers. It is an urn shaped pot with openings on the sides for the strawberries to grow. Strawberry pots and containers now come in several different options, including terra cotta and plastic. Both have their pros and cons.

Fill the pot with soil and begin planting at the bottom of the strawberry pot. Place one berry plant in each pocket. Bury it deep enough that the top of the plant is just above the soil surface. Continue to work the strawberry plants into the openings up the side of the pot. Three to four strawberry plants can be planted in the top of the planter. Find a home for the strawberries. The plants will need at least six hours of full sun each day. Keep the strawberry plants well watered and have adequate drainage.

Tips & Warnings

An optional PVC pipe or tube can be placed down the center of the pot before filling with soil mix and strawberry plants. This will help keep the strawberries from getting dried out.

Strawberry plants are prone to being attacked by Aphids, Red Spider Mites. Use appropriate insecticides to treat the attacks on the strawberries. Strawberry plants also tend to develop powdery mildew. Keep the birds off the berry plants. They love the crop too.

How to Grow Delicious Strawberries in Hanging Pots


By eHow Contributor Strawberry plants have a trailing habit that makes them naturals for planters and hanging pots.

Just about everybody likes strawberries. Try to imagine summer without strawberry ice cream or sweet strawberry shortcake. While they may suffice for winter, in the summertime you don't have to settle for frozen strawberries. You don't even have to have a garden to enjoy a few fresh strawberries once you learn how to grow strawberries in hanging pots. Fall is the best time to plant strawberries.
Things You'll Need

Potting soil Trowel Hanging pots

Instructions
Fill several large hanging pots with potting soil, using a trowel. Fill the pots with potting soil. Put one to two mother plants in each pot. Water the plants in and place them in a protected place, like an enclosed porch or garage. Water and fertilizer regularly all winter. You must watch them and be sure they are staying healthy. Fill three to five smaller hanging pots with potting soil in the spring. Hang these smaller pots below the larger ones in a location that receives at least six hours of sun per day. The mother strawberry plants will begin to sprout daughters. Guide these daughter plants to the smaller hanging pots where they can take root and begin to grow. Apply fertilizer rich in nitrogen, according to package instructions. Continue to watch your mother and daughter plants so they remain healthy. Eventually the mother plant will die, but you should notice pretty white blossoms on the daughter plants. These are the beginnings of your strawberries.

Tips & Warnings


Day-neutral and alpine strawberries are best suited to growing in pots. Strawberries grown in pots may not produce as many berries as those grown in the ground.

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