Of the many varietals of strawberries in the botanical family Frageria, three kinds predominate for home garden and commercial production: June-bearers, everbearing and day-neutral. All three should be planted early in the spring to achieve the best fruiting performance.
Early Spring Planting
Strawberries should be planted outdoors as soon as the ground soil is soft and warm enough to dig up and easily till. In most climates this will be sometime in March or April. Earliest spring planting allows you to have as long a growing and fruiting season as possible and ensures that the strawberry plants' root systems are well developed before the heat of summer comes along.
Siting and Planting Technique
Select a planting location that receives a full sun exposure and has a rich, well-drained and weed free soil. Always plant strawberry plants when the soil is relatively dry, after rain or previous heavy irrigation has dried up. Cut away any diseased or damaged leaves before planting in the soil and soak the roots in tepid water for an hour or so if planting bare root strawberries.
Plant the strawberry plants up to the shoulder of its roots or root-ball level with the surrounding soil. Press soil around the roots being careful not to allow any soil to fall onto the crown or top of the plant between the stems. Plant strawberries on a cloudy day or during the late afternoon to limit the amount of sun and heat stress on the plant during the first 24 hours or so that it is acclimating to its new surroundings.
Mulching and Fertilizing
Strawberries benefit from being mulched over the plant tops in winter for cold and frost protection and around the base of the roots in spring and summer to prevent moisture loss and keep berries from contact with the soil. Straw works best for winter mulching and straw or shredded bark work well in spring and summer.
Strawberries can be fed with a light dose of water soluble fertilizer right after planting and watering in. Choose a good quality balanced crystal fertilizer like a 10-10-10 and mix 2 to 3 tbsp. with a gallon of water. Apply at least a cup of the solution to the roots of each plant, never pouring over the leaves.
A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.